Man goes from ‘perfectly healthy’ to brain dead in 9 days after mosquito bite


KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (KRON/WOOD) – A man who was “perfectly healthy” died last month nine days after contracting a rare mosquito virus that left him brain dead.

According to his obituary, 64-year-old Gregg McChesney died in August after his 9-day battle with an “aggressive illness.”

Though unclear at the time of his death, doctors confirmed several days later that McChesney was infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), WOOD reports.

EEE is a very rare, potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus which causes brain infections and neurological problems.

“He was perfectly healthy, happy human being and within a matter of nine days he went from perfectly healthy to brain dead,” his younger brother Mark McChesney told WOOD. “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.”

“Right off the bat, we were like, ‘How could this happen? What did happen?’” Mark recalled. “We just didn’t know and the doctors were just doing everything they could to try to say it was this or that, and they just couldn’t figure it out.”

“He was a great guy. He loved life,” Mark said. “I don’t think he would have any regrets. I don’t think so because he found himself.”

From 2009 to 2018, there have been seven reported cases of EEE in Michigan, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health officials in Michigan say there have been seven confirmed cases of EEE in humans this year; it’s the worst outbreak since 2002.

Symptoms of EEE begin to show within four to 10 days after infection. They include fever, chills, lethargy, and joint pain.

People are advised to protect themselves from EEE by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors, use insect repellent containing DEET, and empty any standing water near homes.

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