Eastern Equine Encephalitis In St. Joseph County
Friday, August 23, 2019

(COLDWATER) – Two cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been found in St. Joseph County.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency that as of August 21st, two unvaccinated horses in the county tested positive for EEE, and both have died.

CHA Health Officer Rebecca Burns says a horse infected with EEE may exhibit behavior that includes loss of awareness of their surroundings; walking in circles; muscle paralysis, stupor, lethargy and lack of coordination.

There is a vaccine that has been proven effective in horses. Burns says horse owners are reminded to vaccinate their horses to prevent EEE and West Nile Virus which are both mosquito-borne diseases.

EEE is an infectious, often fatal disease of horses, pigs and humans and is transmitted by mosquitoes. Burns says in humans, signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, along with body and joint aches. EEE infection 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.

Burns says you should protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. Always apply insect repellents containing DEET or EPA approves products, such as oil of lemon, eucalyptus and para-methane-diol products. Wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors or when mosquitoes are active.

Also install or repair screens on windows and doors.

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