A woman in Massachusetts has reportedly died after contracting a deadly virus from a mosquito bite.
Laurie Sylvia, 50, contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis – the EEE virus – from a bite, according to reports from ABC6.
Sharing news of her condition on Facebook, Teamer’s Local 59 page wrote, ‘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.’
The post continued, ‘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. Laurie’s condition has deteriorated and regrettably, the family is now preparing for the worst.’
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement:
We are working with several state agencies including MDAR, local boards of health, local Mosquito Control Projects, and other mosquito control experts on mosquito surveillance and appropriate public health response activities.
They also warned that people living in the Commonwealth should continue to use mosquito repellent and those in high and critical risk communities should consider staying indoors during the dusk to dawn hours to reduce exposure to mosquitos.
Laurie is the fourth human case of EEE in Massachusetts this year, however she’s the first fatality.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health warned in July that EEE virus had been detected in mosquitos collected from Fairhaven, where Laurie is from. Last month the department updated Fairhaven’s status to high risk.
A total of 23 communities in the state of Massachusetts are now considered to be at critical risk, 22 at high risk, and 52 at moderate risk for the EEE virus. The department has counted 333 mosquitos testing positive for traces of the virus, many of which were species that could spread the virus to humans.
The state has now started aerial spraying in several communities throughout the state, including in Worcester and Middlesex counties.
Symptoms of EEE tend to occur around four to 10 days after a person has been infected with the virus. They include high fever, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and neck stiffness.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a third of all people who contract EEE will die from the disease.
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Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining the LADbible Group team in 2017.