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An 11th person has died from a rare mosquito-borne illness in the United States.
There are typically only five to 10 reported cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis every year. The illness results in death in 30 percent of cases, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four of the 11 cases so far this year have been in Michigan, including the most-recent death. The state scheduled aerial pesticide sprays in affected areas last night to help kill off the mosquito population.
All of the other deaths from EEE this year have been in New England. Massachusetts and Connecticut have reported three deaths each and one person died in Rhode Island. At least one public official has blamed the spike in cases on climate change, with Connecticut's Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz saying that the sudden rise was due to warmer weather extending later into the year. As the name suggests, the illness typically affects horses and a vaccine has been made for them but not for humans.
"We continue to emphasize the need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites," Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel said in a news release about the rash of illnesses. "It is absolutely essential that people take steps to avoid being bitten by a mosquito."
EEE causes flu-like symptoms in those suffering from it and can cause seizures and brain damage in severe cases. The illness can cause brain swelling and death.