MDHHS: Cass Co. resident 10th person sickened by EEE

Southwest Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — A Cass County resident has contracted Eastern Equine Encephalitis, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. 

So far this year, 10 people have been sickened by EEE. Four of those people have died, MDHHS said. 

Officials say the onset date for the new case was Sept. 20, before aerial spraying for mosquitoes carrying EEE that started on Sept. 30 and ended Monday night. 

During that time, crews treated more than 557,000 acres in 14 counties for adult mosquitoes, possibly carrying EEE, including Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kent, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties.

Officials say additional aerial spraying is not planned because weather conditions are not favorable for the treatment to be successful. 

EEE has also sickened 39 animals in 16 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Tuscola and Van Buren. At least 18 horses, 13 deer and 2 rare wolf pups have died from the infection.

EEE is one of the most dangerous diseases mosquitoes transmit. Although human cases are rare, approximately one in three people visibly sickened by EEE will die from it.

Symptoms 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.

In addition to spraying areas that have not opted out of treatment, MDHHS is urging people to deter disease-carrying mosquitoes by using repellents containing DEET on their body and clothes and wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants.

Officials from Kalamazoo County announced Friday they would be stocking homeless shelters and senior centers with 400-500 containers of insect repellent containing DEET. The Kalamazoo city office and Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department will also be carrying repellent for distribution.

School districts are also continuing to shuffle sports schedules around to prevent players from being outside during dusk, when mosquitoes are most active. Grandville announced Monday that its Friday varsity football game at West Ottawa High School would start earlier, with a 5:30 p.m. kickoff. Families are encouraged to check their school districts’ website for updated practice and game times.

Residents are also encouraged to dump out any standing water in their yard and replace window and door screens with tears or holes that a mosquito could pass through.

The MDHHS says the risk of EEE should be eliminated when mosquitoes carrying the infection are killed by the first hard frost.



 MDHHS on mosquito-borne diseases

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