Raynham: Gov. defends DPH after man’s death from EEE

Gov. Deval Patrick is calling the death of an 80-year-old Raynham man from eastern equine encephalitis a tragedy, but says the Department of Public Health correctly followed its policy on mosquito spraying.

Raynham officials as well as relatives of Martin Newfield have questioned why the state did not order aerial spraying for mosquitoes prior to Newfield contracting the disease.

The former insurance agent and high school football referee died Monday, nine days after first complaining of nausea and headaches.

He was the first person in Massachusetts to die from EEE since 2006.

“What a horrible, horrible tragedy–my heart goes out to his family,” said Gov. Patrick said Wednesday.

“But the DPH has a protocol for spraying– there was spraying, let’s be clear about that– the question is whether there should have been aerial spraying, and you can’t do aerial spraying during a storm, when it’s all going to blow away, or when the temperature isn’t right. And that’s why the DPH has its protocol.”

The Raynham Board of Health is advising all outdoor activities be curtailed daily by 4 p.m. ongoing until ½ hour after dawn or when mosquitoes are most active. All activities on “Town” and “Public School” owned properties must cease during those times.

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