JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS)— The Jackson County Health Department has issued a warning about mosquito-borne viruses for the upcoming summer months. The health department says Michigan has had previous outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses that include: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), West Nile virus (WNV), and St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE).
What is the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)?
According to the CDC, the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus can cause a rare brain infection, however the CDC also says there are only a few cases reported in the United States each year.
Nearly 30 percent of people with EEE pass away, and it’s known survivors have long-term brain problems.
The Jackson County Health Department says that in 2019, Michigan experienced the worst outbreak of this mosquito virus since 1980. The outbreak in 2019 resulted in aerial spraying of natural insecticide across large areas of southern Michigan.
The Jackson Health Department also says that 2020 had a high number of horse and human cases of EEE, in which aerial spraying was conducted to respond to those cases.
What is the West Nile virus (WNV)?
According to the CDC, West Nile Virus is commonly spread through an infected mosquito bite. There are no vaccines to prevent this mosquito virus, and most people infected do not feel sick.
The CDC says about 1 in 5 people who are infected could develop a fever.
The Jackson County Health Department recommends using bug spray and wearing long-sleeved shirts to prevent mosquito bites.
What is the St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)?
The St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE) virus is spread by a mosquito bite, and most people who are infected with this virus do not feel their symptoms.
According to the CDC, some people could develop a fever, headache, nausea, vomiting and fatigue.
The CDC also says in rare cases people can die from St. Louis Encephalitis.
The Jackson County Health Department continues to conduct research on the viruses by trapping different kinds of mosquitos around Jackson. The study is using grant money from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Other local health departments across Michigan are also searching for mosquitos that carry the Zika virus, and are additionally researching ticks with Lyme disease.
“We go out and find mosquitos, we sort them, and then we submit as appropriate to the Bureau of Laboratories for testing,” said Don Hayduk, Environmental Health Division Director for the Jackson County Health Department.
Hayduk says it’s important for people to seek medical attention if they experience an adverse reaction to a mosquito bite.
Hayduk also suggests safety tips during mosquito season including; wearing covered pants, full sleeves, using Environmental Protection Agency registered repellants, repair screens, and once a week empty or cover anything that holds standing water.
“It’s one of those low-risk but high consequence diseases,” Hayduk said.
The CDC provides a detailed list on its website about additional details regarding habitat control, repellant use, and avoiding mosquitos.
If you would like to receive more information about mosquitos and ticks visit The Jackson County Health Department’s website.