Mosquitoes and Workers Comp

September 2nd, 2004 by

A Brockton, Massachusetts, man recently succumbed to eastern equine encephalitis, a mosquito transmitted disease that, while rare, is fatal in 35% of cases. The Associated Press report, carried by the Boston Globe online edition, notes that the 60 year old man worked as a landscaper. Subsequent tests of standing water in the area where he was working (southeastern Massachusetts) showed a significant number of infected mosquitoes.
So why might this involve workers comp? If the deceased man was not an independent contractor, and if he worked for a company carrying workers comp insurance, his fatality is very likely to be work related. Although it could not be proven that the mosquito bite actually occurred at work, the work explicitly exposed him to infected mosquitoes. In all likelihood, this would be a fatality that occurred in the course and scope of employment. His survivors would be entitled to benefits.
The Centers for Disease Control has issued an interesting fact sheet on eastern equine encephalitis. The good news is that the disease is very rare