A third person has died of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Connecticut this season, officials from the Connecticut Agriculture Station said Tuesday.
Officials said two more human cases of EEE have been confirmed in Connecticut and one of those people has died.
The patient who died is from East Haddam, and fell ill in September, the Department of Public Health confirmed. The person who died was in his or her 60s.
The other patient is from Colchester resident in his or her 40s and fell ill in August.
“We have never had anything like this happen. Before 2013, we never had a human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis,” said Dr. Matthew Cartter, state epidemiologist.
The virus has been detected in mosquitoes in 17 towns - Bethany, Chester, Groton, Haddam, Hampton, Killingworth, Ledyard, Lyme, Madison, Middlefield, North Stonington, Old Lyme, Plainfield, Shelton, South Windsor, Stonington, Voluntown. It has also been found in horses in Colchester, Columbia, Montville, Salem, Sterling, Voluntown, and in birds in North Stonington.
Human cases of EEE are rare but can be deadly. According to the CDC, 30 percent of cases are fatal, and survivors often suffer brain damage.
Many towns across the state have taken precautions against EEE, including ending outdoor activities before dusk.
State health officials are encouraging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites by limiting outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. If you have to be outside, officials recommend wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent.
Mosquitoes will continue to be active until the first hard frost, officials said.