A Massachusetts woman has reportedly died after contracting a deadly virus through a mosquito bite.
Laurie Sylvia, 59, contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis – the EEE virus – from a mosquito bite, according to reports from ABC6.
Her husband, Robert Sylvia, told the NBC 10 Boston his wife died on Saturday after falling ill on Monday. They were married for more than 40 years.
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 those living in the Commonwealth to continue using mosquito repellent and that those in particularly high risk communities should consider staying indoors overnight to try and 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 suburbs in the state are now considered to be at critical risk, 22 at high risk, and 52 at moderate risk for the EEE virus. 333 mosquitos testing positive for traces of the virus have been counted by the department, many of which were species that could spread the virus to humans.
The state has now started aerial spraying in Worcester and Middlesex as well as several other communities throughout Massachusetts.
Symptoms of EEE tend to occur around four to 10 days after infection. These include high fever, sudden onset of headache, tiredness, chills, 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.