3 cases of EEE reported in SW Michigan from mosquitoes

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed cases of mosquito-borne virus, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Michigan.

Three Kalamazoo and Berrien County residents are suspected of having EEE and Genesee County has confirmed one case of California encephalitis virus.

As of Aug. 26, six horses with the virus have died after contracting EEE. None of the horses were vaccinated for the virus.

“Mosquito-borne diseases can cause long-term health effects in people and even death,” said Dr. Mary Grace Stobierski, MDHHS state public health veterinarian and manager of the Zoonotic and Emerging Infectious Diseases Section in a press release. “These cases, along with confirmed cases in horses and deer in the state, stress the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

According to the MDHHS; both California encephalitis virus and EEE  “… can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.”

Symptoms for EEE include body/joint aches, fever, and chills. California encephalitis virus symptoms are nausea/vomiting, fatigue/lethargy, headache, and fever.

The MDHHS encourages everyone to take an active role in avoiding mosquito bites:

  • Use repellents containing DEET or other U.S. EPA-approved products on exposed skin or clothes,
  • Wearing long-sleeves and pants when outdoors
  • Fix or replace window screens
  • Empty water from possible breeding sites like buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires, or similar places where mosquitoes may lay eggs
  • Put up/use nets or fans over outdoor eating areas.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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