ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - After two men in Michiana died from Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, over the weekend, 16 News Now spoke with the daughters of 79-year-old Henry Hess, of Edwardsburg, and 68-year-old Roger Levitz, of Bristol.
After two men in Michiana died from EEE over the weekend, 16 News Now spoke with the daughters of 79-year-old Henry Hess, of Edwardsburg, and 68-year old Roger Levits, of Bristol.
These conversations were nothing short of painful. The children of the victims said how difficult it was to see someone they loved so much going through such a devastating illness.
Two families impacted by the same brutal disease are now trying to cope with losing their father.
“The world is very much a dimmer, poorer place to not have my father,” said Ericka Schieber, the daughter of Levitz.
Schieber says she was at her father's house the day he asked to go to the emergency room.
The daughter of a Vietnam veteran now says she feels robbed of her father's life.
“The fact that it was a mosquito that took down this strong, life-loving man and take him away from our family is just disgusting,” Schieber said.
Levitz was just the fourth human case of EEE in Indiana since the 1960s.
Schieber says she thinks more can be done to prevent this.
“Maybe it's something they need to take a harder look at and see what they can do vaccination-wise for humans," she said.
She's not alone in saying more prevention for humans should be considered. Just over the Michigan border, Carrie and Theresa Hess are alone in the house their father built for their family, mourning his loss.
“We lost our mom 2 1/2 years ago to mesothelioma, which is also a rare disease, so to lose him to something that is also extremely rare -- it's very devastating,” Carrie Hess said.
She said she believes her father contracted the virus doing his everyday outdoor work, like chopping wood.
Now, two families are left with only memories of the men that raised them.
Although temperatures have cooled, health officials continue to urge residents to keep themselves and loved ones safe by using bug spray with DEET and minding your surroundings during dusk and dawn.