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Encephalitis kills 2 in Massachusetts

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BOSTON, Sep 07, 2005 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Massachusetts health officials say two people have died of mosquito-borne Eastern equine encephalitis, and one other is hospitalized in serious condition.

Names were not released, but one was a 5-year-old girl, and the second an 83-year-old man. The hospitalized woman is 63, the Boston Globe reported.

Eastern equine encephalitis is transmitted from birds to mosquitoes and then to horses and people, and appears in cycles. For the past several summers the virus has been at a peak. Last year, four Massachusetts residents were infected with EEE and two died, the newspaper said.

Eastern equine encephalitis is one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. Very few people get it, but it kills 35 percent of those who become infected.

Symptoms begin with fever, chills, muscle aches, and headaches, progresses to a severe brain infection that causes confusion, coma and death.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International.

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