A 59-year-old Fairhaven, Massachusetts woman, Laurie Sylvia, has reportedly died after contracting EEE (known as Eastern equine encephalitis virus), per NBC Boston.
It is the fourth case of EEE in Massachusetts this year as reported by the Department of Health.
According to the Sylvia’s husband, Robert Sylvia, Jr., his wife passed away on Sunday night after falling ill the Monday before.
It has yet to be officially confirmed by autopsy but Sylvia Jr. believes his wife of 40 years was bit by an infected mosquito, succumbing to the EEE virus.
“It pains us to inform you that Laurie Sylvia, the wife of Teamsters Local 59 President Robert Sylvia, Jr has been stricken with the EEE Virus. For the last several days we were hopeful that with the best possible care from the Doctors and Staff at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, she would be able to recover. We have just learned that this will not be the case.”
Later, Laurie’s daughter, Jen Sylvia, confirmed the passing of her mother on her own Facebook page.
"Today I had to say goodbye to my best friend. My mum was my favorite person in the world. She brought light and joy to everyone she came across...Mum, I hope you find the beach in heaven. I'll meet you there one day.”
After the Department of Health announced the fourth case of EEE, the Fairhaven Firefighters Association Local 1555 issued a warning to residents.
"Fairhaven residents: Please take the EEE warnings seriously. Sadly, one of our residents has a confirmed case of EEE.”
A number of Massachusetts counties have been spraying to control the mosquito population in an attempt to prevent equine encephalitis virus.
Massachusetts residents are advised to wear long sleeve shirts and pants, avoid mosquitoes indoors and outdoors and wear insect repellent.
Per the CDC, signs and symptoms of EEE include fever, stiff neck, restlessness, irritability and headaches.