EEE Claims Fifth Victim In Michigan

A fifth person has died in Michigan from Eastern Equine Encephalitis. While the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has not released details other than the victim was a Cass County resident, family members have told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids he was 72-year-old Henry Hess of Edwardsburg, who died while hospitalized in Chicago over the weekend. He fell ill before the area was sprayed for mosquitoes over the past several weeks, and was discharged from a Mishawaka hospital in late September, with doctors saying at the time they did not believe he had EEE.

So far, there have been 10 human cases of EEE in the state, and half of them have died, with two deaths in Cass County. Typically, health officials say a third of those who contract it will die, and survivors are often left with mental and physical disabilities. This is the worst outbreak of Triple-E in the state in over a decade. Health officials say the number of animals with the disease has risen to 40 with the confirmation of a horse in Allegan County this month, and that animal was showing symptoms before the state sprayed parts of that county on October 3 and 6.