EXETER, New Hampshire (NEWS CENTER) -- "If I really get thinking about it, I can't wrap my head around it," stated Patti Webb, shaking her head in disbelief, "that a little bug, smaller than our fingers, can do this, and it just ripped him right out of our lives."
Webb's father, William Walsh, was an active 73 year old who had just won a golf tournament, when he was bitten by a mosquito infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, while enjoying the summer at a campground in Naples.
"He came down with symptoms on September 21, 2008 and by September 22nd he was brain dead," she recalled.
Walsh fell into a coma and died five weeks later, never regaining consciousness.
"You know, you look at a mosquito, and it is not even the size of your pinky, and it can do that to a man who is 6'3'', a vibrant, young 73 year old."
Last week, public health officials with the Maine Center for Disease Control announced the first positive test for another mosquito-borne virus, West Nile Virus, in Maine.
When the announcement was made, officials with the Maine CDC also stated that their had potentially been two people infected with mosquito-borne viruses, one with West Nile and the other with EEE, and that more tests would be done by the federal CDC. Officials hope to have the test results back by the end of the week.
The news that the two mosquito-borne viruses have potentially been found in Maine should come as no surprise as other parts of the country, including southern New England, have been seeing an alarming number of infected mosquitoes this summer.
"I was aware of it, but I was one of those people that didn't think it was going to happen to me," admitted Patti Webb. "And when it did, it was devastating, completely."
Webb now carries bug spray with her where ever she goes, and urges others to do the same.
"Protect yourselves, I can't stress that enough, you need to protect yourself, you can't rely on anybody else."
The Maine CDC says the best steps to take to avoid contracting a mosquito-borne virus are to avoid being outside during the hours of dusk and dawn, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when heading outside and to use bug spray.