6-year-old Coventry girl diagnosed with EEE, recovering at home

By: Ellie Romano

Email: ERomano@ABC6.com

Twitter: @ERomanoABC6

COVENTRY, R.I. (WLNE) – Two more human cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been confirmed in Rhode Island. 

According to the Department of Health, the first person diagnosed is in their 50s from Charlestown. The second person is a 6-year-old girl from Coventry. 

According to the little girl’s father, his daughter, Star Jackman, began feeling sick the Friday before Labor Day. 

“She started running a fever and throwing up,” said Reginald Jackman, Star’s Father. “Sunday afternoon we brought her to the walk-in.”

From there, Star was rushed to Hasbro Children’s Hospital. She spent nine days there while doctors tried to figure out what was wrong.

“She couldn’t talk for 5 or 6 days. She couldn’t remember who people were,” said Jackman.

But little Star is a fighter. She began to take a turn for the better, and was eventually released from the hospital and is now recovering at home. 

“She’s been doing really good, we see progress everyday,” said Jackman.

It wasn’t until Monday that the family finally found out it was EEE that made Star sick.

“We were out of the hospital for a week before we found out what it was,” said Jackman.

With these two new cases of EEE in humans, the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management are considering conducting another round of aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes.

“We’re doing everything we can possibly do to protect public health,” said Mike Healey with DEM.

Star’s father is warning other parents to take steps to protect their children from the mosquito-borne virus. 

“I thought me and my wife were doing a good job with the bug spray,” said Jackman. “Obviously we could have done more. So, I would say make sure you dress in long sleeves and pants and use a lot of bug spray.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help Star’s family. It’s already raised more than $6,000.

The person in their 50’s from Charlestown who was also diagnosed with EEE has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. 

There have now been three human cases of EEE in Rhode Island this year. The first case was detected in a person from West Warwick who passed away from the virus in early September. 

On top of these human diagnoses, EEE was confirmed in a deer from Exeter this week.

On Monday, Connecticut announced it’s first human EEE case this year.

In 2019, Massachusetts has had eight human cases of EEE. One person has died.

The four critical risk areas that were previously sprayed were (1) an area in northern Rhode Island (parts of Burrillville, North Smithfield, and Woonsocket); (2) parts of Westerly, Hopkinton, and Charlestown; (3) all of West Warwick and parts of Coventry, Cranston, Scituate, Warwick, East Greenwich, and West Greenwich; and (4) all of Central Falls, Pawtucket, and North Providence and parts of Providence, East Providence, Smithfield, Lincoln, and Cumberland. These areas remain critical risk. 

© WLNE-TV 2019