First human case of EEE found in Rhode Island

 

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE/AP) – Public health officials say a human has tested positive for the potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus eastern equine encephalitis in West Warwick.     

The state health department said Friday the case was confirmed in a man over 50 from West Warwick. It’s the first human case in Rhode Island since 2010.     

State environmental officials said Thursday a six-month-old horse tested positive for the virus in Westerly.

Mosquitoes carrying the disease have been found in Westerly and Central Falls.     

Ana Novais, the health department’s deputy director, says there’s a high risk for transmission of the disease to humans through mosquito bites.

She recommends taking extra precautions to prevent bites.   

 In neighboring Massachusetts, there have been four confirmed human cases of the virus this year, one of them fatal.     

The virus can cause brain infections.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.