Officials urge precautions after EEE confirmed in Jackson Co.


JACKSON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — A deadly mosquito-borne disease has made its way to Mid-Michigan, and health officials are urging people to take precautions.

Officials have identified one deer in Jackson County that tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

As of 4:30 p.m. Friday, a spokesperson for the Jackson County Health Department said there were no human cases of EEE in Jackson County. But the announcement came the same day as health officials confirming an adult in Calhoun County has the disease.

Eight cases of EEE have now been confirmed in residents of Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties. Three people have died.

Cases of EEE have also been confirmed in animals found in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Montcalm, St. Joseph, and Van Buren Counties.

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. Because of this, officials say people should take the following precautions:

  • Avoid outdoor activities between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., if possible.
  • If you must be outside during those times, use an insect repellent with DEET.
  • Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outside.
  • Dump all standing water.

Early symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, and joint and body aches. Those can lead to headaches, disorientation, seizures and paralysis.

The announcement of a case of EEE found in an animal in Jackson County has residents worried.

“Obviously some concern, because it seems to be spreading a little bit faster than, I guess, people were hoping or even heard about,” Jason Blood said.

“It’s kind of scary scary, you know, especially finding it around here,” Elizabeth Maurer said. “I’ve heard of it being found around Kalamazoo and those areas, and of course, you always like things to be further away.”

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