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Calhoun County death marks fourth EEE fatality

Posted: 1:41 PM, Oct 02, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-02 13:41:26-04

LANSING, Mich. — A fourth person in Michigan has died from Eastern equine encephalitis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said an individual in Calhoun County has died from the disease, but didn’t provide any further information.

The death marks the fourth fatality caused by EEE in Michigan out of the nine confirmed human cases. There have been 27 confirmed animal cases, including the deaths of two Mexican gray wolf pups at Battle Creek’s Binder Park Zoo.

To help fight further infection, the state has contracted a company to aerially treat certain portions of impacted counties for mosquitoes. The chemical being used, Merus 3.0, is toxic to mosquitoes, flies, ants and other pests. MDHHS says the spray doesn’t pose general health risks to humans, pets or animals and shouldn’t impact drinking water.

Several counties in southwest Michigan have already been treated with more planned for Wednesday. Kalamazoo County, which is considered at-risk by MDHHS, will not receive treatment because so many residents opted out of the spray.

Residents can opt out of treatment by emailing eee@michigan.gov at least 48 hours ahead of the scheduled time.

EEE is a rare mosquito-borne illness with a 33% mortality rate for those who become ill. Signs of EEE include sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches, which can progress to severe encephalitis.

People can reduce risk by using bug spray with DEET, avoiding being outside at dusk, wearing long sleeves, and getting rid of standing water on their property.