UPDATE (6:03 p.m.): The Massachusetts Department of Public Health confirmed to WBSM News that a woman over the age of 50 in southern Bristol County has become the state's fourth human case of EEE this year.

UPDATE (5:02 p.m.): Sylvia's daughter confirmed her mother had passed away earlier today in a Facebook post.

FAIRHAVEN — A Fairhaven woman is reportedly the fourth person stricken with the Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, virus in Massachusetts this year.

The Teamsters Local 59 posted on its Facebook page that Laurie Sylvia, wife of Local 59 President Robert Sylvia, Jr., has been stricken with EEE and is at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. According to her own Facebook profile, Sylvia is a Fairhaven resident and realtor at Pelletier Realty, who graduated from Dartmouth High School in 1977.

The Teamsters Local 59 posts states “Laurie’s condition has deteriorated and regrettably, the family is now preparing for the worst.”

Teamsters Local 59/Facebook
Teamsters Local 59/Facebook

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has not yet confirmed Sylvia’s case. WBSM News has emailed the Mass DPH looking for confirmation. 

In a Facebook post, the Town of Fairhaven wrote, “Word is circulating online about a possible EEE case in Fairhaven. We have not received official word from the State confirming this, but we will be sure to keep you updated as we hear more.”

On August 10, the DPH announced the first human case of EEE in Massachusetts since 2013, when a male over 60 from southern Plymouth County was confirmed to be infected with the virus. That led to the risk level being raised in nine communities as a result: Carver, Lakeville, Marion, Middleborough, Rochester, and Wareham in Plymouth County and Acushnet, Freetown, and New Bedford in Bristol County.

On August 16, the DPH confirmed the second human case of EEE, this time in eastern Worcester County. Reports were that it was a Grafton man in his late 20s, who lives near a farm, that was infected. That added 10 new communities to the list of those now at critical risk.

In addition, it was also reported that a goat from Bristol County had tested positive for the EEE virus at that time.

Then on August 23, the third confirmed case of EEE in a human was announced, with a male over the age of 60 stricken in northern Franklin County. As a result, the risk level in two communities in that county was raised to critical. A horse from Mendon and a horse from Uxbridge also tested positive for EEE, raising the risk level to critical in those two Worcester County towns.

On August 23, a deceased bird in New Bedford’s Buttonwood Park tested positive for EEE. New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell already instituted a curfew for all city-owned properties in the wake of the critical risk for contracting EEE.

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