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Maine Records First Death from Mosquito-Borne EEE

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine health officials say a York County adult died Oct. 17 after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis, a disease spread by infected mosquitos. Authorities say it's the first death in the state from the disease, commonly known as EEE, or triple E.

Officials say the individual, who was at least age 65, fell ill in late September and was hospitalized in New Hampshire. Early tests were inconclusive, but a sample sent to a federal lab confirmed that the person had contracted EEE.

"Our hearts go out to the family during this difficult time,'' says State Epidemiologist Siiri Bennett, in a statement. "As this disease is transmitted through a bite from an infected mosquito it's important for Mainers to know that there is no current risk of EEE in Maine as there are no active mosquitos."

Authorities have not released the name or gender of the victim.  The disease is fatal in about one-third of those infected, though some people have no obvious symptoms. For those who become ill, symptoms range from mild flu-like illness to brain inflammation, coma and death.