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‘A phenomenal miracle’: Colchester man survives EEE

Sunday, Jan 19, 2020

By Taylor Hartz   Day staff writer One day last August, Richard Pawulski was doing yardwork in his family's lush, wooded backyard in Colchester, when he was bitten by a mosquito. Pawulski, a healthy 42-year-old husband, father and physical therapist, had no idea he had been bitten, or that the mosquito that bit him was carrying the deadly Eastern equine encephalitis virus, commonly known as EEE. Now, Pawulski is bedridden and struggles to speak after awakening from a two-month coma with a fatal prognosis. He said he feels like he has "gone through hell" and "wouldn't wish this on anyone." On average, only seven people contract the virus in the United States each year, with a spike in 2019, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which said there's no one cause for the increase to nearly 40 cases last year. In Connecticut, Pawulski was one of four people to contract the virus last year — and he is the only one who survived. On Aug. 22, Pawulski began complaining of flu-like symptoms, including a high fever and stiff neck, according to his wife, Malgorzata Pawulski.

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