EEE patient in Kalamazoo County dies

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department says a person who contracted a rare mosquito-borne illness has died.

There have been three confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, two in Kalamazoo County and one in Berrien County. Both counties also have an additional suspected case, and Kalamazoo County has another two cases under investigation.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States with a 33% fatality rate for people who become ill and a 90% fatality rate for horses. There is a vaccine to protect horses from the illness, but not for humans.

People are advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent with DEET.

Symptoms of EE include fever chills and body aches, and severe cases can cause headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, brain damage, coma and death.

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