6th fatality linked to Eastern Equine Encephalitis reported

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FILE – In this Aug. 26, 2019, file photo, Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City. State and federal health officials are reporting a higher than usual number of deaths and illnesses from a rare, mosquito-borne virus this year. Eastern equine encephalitis has been diagnosed in a score of people in six states and several people have died so far this year. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. (AP) — Michigan health authorities are reporting a 6th fatality linked to Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

Berrien County Health Department officials said Monday the victim was one of two people who contracted the mosquito-borne virus. The death occurred Saturday.

Cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis first appeared in West Michigan at the end of August. The virus has been reported in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. The outbreak has resulted in 10 human cases and 46 animal cases.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the risk from the virus continues because there hasn’t been a sustained period of freezing temperatures. He says residents in the affected areas should continue to take precautions against mosquito bites.

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