Mass. Woman Dies From Mosquito-Borne EEE

A Massachusetts woman — the fourth person in the state to contract the mosquito-borne illness Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE — has died.

The Department of Public Health announced Sunday that lab testing confirmed that a woman, whom they described as over age 50, had contracted the disease.

Family and a local union confirmed the death of Laurie Sylvia, of Fairhaven, in social media posts over the weekend. Sylvia's husband, Robert Sylvia Jr., is the president of the Teamsters Local 59.

"She was such a beautiful soul. I don’t know where to go from here," her daughter Jen Sylvia wrote in a Facebook post Sunday. "I just don’t understand how such a beautiful person could be taken from me so soon. I wasn’t done."

Twenty-three communities in Massachusetts are currently designated at critical risk for EEE. Public health officials were scheduled to aerially spray parts of Worcester and Middlesex counties this weekend in the latest attempts to help kill mosquitoes and reduce public risk.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly attributed confirmation of Laurie Sylvia's death to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. As the post also said, family and a local union confirmed her death. The post has been updated. We regret the error.

This article was originally published on August 26, 2019.


Laney Ruckstuhl Field Producer
Laney Ruckstuhl is the field producer for Morning Edition. She was formerly a digital producer.



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