GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A sixth person who contracted the rare mosquito-borne illness Eastern Equine Encephalitis this summer has died.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the death of a Berrien County resident.
WNDU, the NBC affiliate out of South Bend, Indiana, identified the person who died as Jim Whitright, a farmer from Eau Claire.
Generally, the mortality rate for people who develop serious EEE symptoms is about 33%. In Michigan this year, that figure was almost doubled. The state recorded 10 cases of EEE in humans, six of which proved fatal. The dead also included 79-year-old Stan Zalner of Battle Creek, 64-year-old Gregg McChesney of Richland, 72-year-old Henry Hess of Cass County, another person from Cass County and a Van Buren County resident.
The threat of contracting EEE is over for the year, as cold weather has killed off the mosquito population.