(LANSING) – New cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis have been confirmed in Southern Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says EEE has been confirmed in an adult resident of Calhoun County. That brings the total number of human cases in Southwest Michigan to eight, with three fatalities. The counties reporting human cases of EEE in addition to Calhoun are Cass, Barry, Berrien, Kalamazoo and Van Buren.
Officials say testing at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab recently identified EEE in one animal each in Calhoun, Jackson and Montcalm Counties. As of September 20, EEE had been confirmed in 21 animals from 11 Counties: St. Joseph, Cass, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Montcalm and Van Buren.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy For Health with the HHS says the increasing geographic spread and increasing number of EEE cases in humans and animals indicate that the risk for EEE is ongoing.
The HHS is encouraging local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, specifically activities that involve children, until the first hard frost of the year.
People and animals can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Individuals younger than age 15 and over the age of 50 are at greatest risk.
If you are going to be outside at dusk or later, apply insect repellents that contain DEET; wear long sleeved shirts and long pants; maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes outside and empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools and old tires.
Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches. Those can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis.
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