BOSTON (CBS) – A woman from southern Bristol County has been diagnosed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed on Sunday. The woman is the fourth confirmed case of EEE in Massachusetts this summer.
Friends and family of Laurie Sylvia, a Fairhaven woman, said she was treated at Tufts Medical Center but died of EEE. The DPH has not confirmed the woman’s identity, but the hospital confirmed a EEE victim died there.
It would be the state’s first deadly case of the virus this year.
A post on the Teamsters Local 59 Facebook page said Laurie was the wife of Robert Sylvia Jr., the Teamsters President.
“Of all the people, this person got bit and it could have been anybody,” M.L. Baron, a family friend told WBZ NewsRadio. “If anything, we’re blaming an event that she was at celebrating her 40th wedding anniversary along the beach with a bunch of friends.”
On Friday, a third human case of EEE was announced. A man older than 60 contracted the disease in northern Franklin County.
EEE symptoms can range from a stiff neck, headache, and lack of energy to dangerous complications like inflammation and swelling of the brain.
The risk of EEE will remain until the first killing frost.
Aerial spraying was scheduled for Worcester and Middlesex Counties this weekend in hopes of lowering the risk of EEE.