Aerial treatment scheduled to begin tonight to combat Eastern Equine Encephalitis

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Aerial treatment to combat Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is scheduled to begin tonight in several Michigan counties, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced today.

“There is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “We are taking this step in an effort to protect residents in areas of the state where we know mosquitoes are carrying this potentially deadly disease.”

The areas slated for treatment tonight are identified in the Aerial Treatment Zones Map and include:

  • Blocks 4-1 and 4-2 in Montcalm County.
  • Blocks 9-1, 9-2, 9-3 and 9-4 in Clare County.

If time and weather permit, the following areas will also be treated:

  • Block 5-1 in Kent County.
  • Block 6-1 in Newaygo, Oceana and Muskegon counties and Block 6-2 in Newaygo County.
  • Block 7-1 in Mecosta County.
  • Block 8-1 in Mecosta and Isabella counties.
  • Block 10-1 in Ionia County.

Please refer to the County-level Aerial Treatment Maps for more details of the identified zones’ locations. These schedules are weather dependent and may change. The most up-to-date information will be posted here at Michigan.gov/EEE.

All other treatment zones in Barry, Jackson and Oakland counties will not be treated this evening.

Aerial treatment will be conducted by Clarke from St. Charles, Ill., using specialized aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until the following dawn. Treatment will be conducted using Merus 3.0, the same product used in 2019 in Michigan to treat 557,000 acres. Merus 3.0 is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development and is labeled for public health use over residential areas.                                                          

As of Tuesday, Sept. 15, EEE has been confirmed in 22 horses in 10 counties in Michigan. In addition, there is one suspect case of EEE in a Barry County resident.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill and a 90 percent fatality rate in horses that become ill. People can be infected with EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases from the bite of a mosquito carrying the viruses.

Signs of EEE infection include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.

Residents can stay healthy by following steps to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

For more information about EEE, visit Michigan.gov/EEE.

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