Michigan - A Michigan man reportedly "went from perfectly healthy to brain dead" in nine days after he contracted the rare, mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis during an uptick in cases this year.
Officials in Kalamazoo County on September 6 said a resident infected with EEE, also known as "sleeping sickness," had died. The family of Gregg McChesney, 64, identified him to News 8 as the victim and said he had been helping to install docks in a pond less than a month before he died on August 19.
"He was perfectly healthy, happy human being, and within a matter of nine days he went from perfectly healthy to brain dead," McChesney's younger brother, Mark McChesney, told News 8 on Tuesday. "All of a sudden he had a seizure, and next thing you know, he's in the ER and he just never came out of it."
Doctors confirmed several days after the elder McChesney's passing that he had contracted EEE, News 8 reported. McChesney is among at least seven people who were infected with EEE in Michigan in July, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.
Twenty-one people in six states have been diagnosed with EEE this year, and five people have died, the Associated Press reported. Those counts reflect an uptick from the annual average of seven EEE-related illnesses and three deaths.