KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — State health officials are investigating three suspected cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in people in Kalamazoo and Berrien counties.
EEE is one of the most dangerous diseases mosquitoes can carry. Although human cases are rare, approximately one in three people sickened by EEE will die from it.
Symptoms of EEE include fever, chills and body aches. Severe cases can lead to headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, paralysis, brain damage, coma and death.
EEE is more deadly among horses, with a fatality rate of 90%, but there is a vaccine for horses and not humans.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says as of Monday, it’s confirmed six cases of EEE in horses in Barry, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties. None of the sickened horses were vaccinated against EEE and all of them have died, according to the MDHHS.
The state says two deer in Barry and Cass counties have also been diagnosed with EEE.
The MDHHS is also seeing an uptick in West Nile Virus cases in the Lower Peninsula, with 18 mosquito pools testing positive for the virus and eight birds infected. So far, no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported, but it remains a risk until freezing conditions set in.
The MDHHS is urging people to take steps to deter disease-carrying mosquitoes before they head outside, including using repellents containing DEET, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, dumping out any standing water in their yard and replacing window and door screens with tears or holes that a mosquito could pass through.