Thursday September 6, 2012

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Aerial spraying to control mosquitoes will start Thursday in part of Rutland and Addison counties where two people were sickened and one of them died from Vermont’s first human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, a rare and potentially fatal brain infection spread by mosquitoes.

Richard Hollis, 87, of Brandon had been sick with the disease for five days before he died on Tuesday at Fletcher Allen Health Care in Burlington, according to a death certificate released by the Vermont Health Department.

EEE is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. The illness can come on suddenly, characterized by chills, fever, malaise, joint and muscle pain lasting one to two weeks. In rare more severe cases, the disease can infect the brain and spinal cord, causing high fever, stiff neck and worsening headache. Some people with severe EEE can go into a coma. About one-third of the people with severe EEE die from the disease, the Health Department said. Many of those who survive have mild to severe disabilities.