Scott Sgorbati, 49, of Sudbury died this morning from the mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus, announced Health Commissioner Harry Chen earlier this evening.
Sgorbati was the second person to die from EEE this month and the second Vermonter ever to die from the virus. Earlier this month, former Otter Valley Union High School Principal Richard Breen, 87, of Brandon died from the virus. The two men also contracted the first two documented cases of EEE in humans in Vermont.
This incident comes almost two full weeks after the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Department of Health sprayed the synthetic pesticide Anvil over large swathes of land in the Rutland and Addison county towns of Brandon, Whiting, Salisbury, Leicester, Shoreham and Cornwall.
According to Agency of Agriculture Deputy Secretary Jolinda Laclair, this spraying was the first time the state ever took to the air for the purpose of reducing mosquito populations with insecticides. Agency officials said last week that tests show the spraying killed 60-69 percent of the mosquitos in the targeted regions.
On Friday, the Agency of Agriculture also reported the first case ever recorded of EEE in a horse, which lives in Whiting.
“I want to remind Vermonters that this is a very rare virus,” wrote Chen in an email to reporters earlier this evening. “On average there are only six cases nationwide each year. It can lead to life-threatening illness for about a third of all people infected. So while exposure is extremely rare, it is a very serious illness.”