GEORGETOWN -- It appears that a second person from the local area has died after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis.
Georgetown health officials say an elderly man who matches the age and address of a man that the state reported had contracted the mosquito-borne illness died on Sept. 27. However, the state cannot confirm the death, because it is not required to keep track of such statistics.
The man was the first confirmed case of EEE in the northeast region of Massachusetts, the second being an Amesbury woman, Charlene Manseau. Both diagnoses were confirmed by the state Department of Health and reported to local health authorities, however the state did not release the names of the victims.
Manseau's EEE diagnosis was confirmed by family members who spoke with The Daily News. The paper contacted a member of the Georgetown man's family, but did not receive a response.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, Manseau died after contracting Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The 63-year old wife, mother, grandmother and retired nurse had battled cancer twice, and was in remission when the diagnosed with EEE. Family members said they believe cancer treatments may have suppressed her immune system, leaving her more vulnerable to EEE. Doctors say the elderly, the young and people battling illnesses are particularly vulnerable to EEE.
The Georgetown and Amesbury diagnoses of human EEE cases brought the total number of human EEE case in the state to six.
Although many in Georgetown believe the man who had been hospitalized with EEE died of the illness, the Department of Public Health hasn't called to pass on any information in that regard, according to Georgetown Health Agent Deb Rogers. Amesbury Health Agent Jack Morris, also said the DPH never contacted Amesbury to report that its EEE case resulted in a fatality.
According to state public health officials, that's usually the case.