A West Warwick, R.I., resident with Eastern equine encephalitis has died, marking the first fatal case of the mosquito-borne illness in the state since 2007, authorities said.
Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Health, said the person, who was over 50-years-old died on Sunday. He did not divulge the identity or gender of the individual.
Wendelken confirmed that the death marked the first fatal EEE case in the state since 2007. The state had a human case of the illness in 2010, but that case was not fatal, he said.
Aerial mosquito spraying was planned for Monday night in four areas of the state that have been determined to be at critical risk for EEE, according to a health department statement.
Areas slated to be sprayed include parts of Burrillville, North Smithfield, Woonsocket, Westerly, Hopkinton, and Charlestown, Rhode Island officials said.
A horse has also been diagnosed with EEE in Westerly, authorities said. Two mosquito detections of the disease also occured in that community, and two more mosquito detections occurred in Central Falls.
EEE is a rare but potentially fatal disease that can cause brain inflammation and is transmitted to humans bitten by infected mosquitoes, according to federal authorities. Those who recover from it often live with severe and devastating neurological complications. There is no treatment.
In Massachusetts, the tally of human EEE cases reached seven on Friday. Earlier this year, a Fairhaven woman with EEE died.