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September 24, 2012

Amesbury woman with EEE dies

63-year-old becomes latest victim of the disease

AMESBURY — A 63-year-old mother of four and grandmother of 12 who spent her retirement years from nursing with her husband on Lake Attitash has become the latest victim of Eastern equine encephalitis in the state this year.

Charlene Manseau, of Lake Attitash Road, died Saturday from what her family said were complications from the mosquito-borne disease.

Manseau, who had been treated for two bouts of cancer in recent years, was hospitalized on Monday, Sept. 10, at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and was diagnosed with EEE during the course of her treatment.

In a statement received last night, her family said, “We understand that because of her recent bout with cancer and subsequent treatments, she was immunosuppressed, which may have been a factor in the severity of her illness.”

Manseau was in remission from non-Hodgkins lymphoma and undergoing bi-monthly Rituxan treatments in hopes of extending the length of remission, her family said.

The state Department of Public Health last week confirmed an Amesbury woman was the sixth — and most recent — Massachusetts resident to be diagnosed with EEE this season.

The serious, sometimes fatal illness is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. While EEE can infect people of all ages, people under age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk, state officials say.

“It was made clear to us that EEE is only communicable through an infected mosquito. We also understand that not everyone bitten by an infected mosquito develops severe symptoms,” the family added in its statement.

Yesterday, Jack Morris, the city’s health agent, said he had not been notified of a EEE death in Amesbury. Mayor Thatcher Kezer said he could not comment on the news. And a spokeswoman for the DPH said she had no further information beyond the Amesbury EEE victim had been hospitalized.

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