Mass. man dies of EEE virus
WESTBOROUGH, Mass. (WHDH) -- Ben Duce is the first person to die of EEE Virus in Massachusetts since 2005 and Westborough is now on high alert. Crews have been spraying and the town closed recreational areas.
Ben Duce died at the age of 79. He liked to sit on his back porch, enjoy the shade and tend to his plants. But, the densely wooded area behind his home offered a haven for mosquitoes, which is how he contracted EEE virus.
The woman he married in 1956 misses his company.
“Yeah it is tough. You don’t want to lose a spouse. No one does,” said Diane Duce.
Diane said Ben, who worked for years as a researcher for a pharmaceutical company, got sick almost a month ago.
“He said to me one day, ‘I don’t think I’m going to read. My eyes hurt.’ And that day he didn’t want to eat much. The next day he said ‘I don’t feel well,’ and he started shaking,” said Diane Duce.
A crew from the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project set traps in hopes of identifying which species of mosquitoes are in the area.
“This has been a very challenging summer for us because we have identified virus in 29 of our member communities so far and there’s really no end in sight right now,” said the executive director, Tim Deschamps.
“My dad was all about the research and the science. Let’s find something, let’s find a vaccine or anything,” said the victim’s daughter, Cindy Cote.
EEE is worse than West Nile Virus and can cause inflammation of the brain. It is deadly in one out of three cases. Currently, there are two confirmed cases in Massachusetts.
There will be more spraying in Worcester County on Friday, including the towns, Devens, Marlborough and Acton.