Mosquitoes in Barry County carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE)

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BARRY COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS)–The Michigan Dept. of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) warns residents about the first positive Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) mosquitoes in Barry County.

MDDHS wants people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

The Michigan Dept. of Agriculture and Rural Development originally found a positive EEE horse in Livingston County.

“These discoveries indicate that the EEE virus is here in Michigan and provides warning that residents could also become infected by a mosquito,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “Michigan residents are urged to take precautions and protect themselves from mosquito bites as EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S., with a 33 percent fatality rate among humans who become ill.”

EEE isn’t spread person-to-person, and some signs are sudden fever, chills, body and joint aches. If you get EEE it can eventually develop into encephalitis. This can eventually lead to, headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. In worst-case scenarios, permanent brain damage, coma, and death could happen.

Ways people can stay healthy:

  • 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 horses, EEE is a serious but preventable disease,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM. “Positive mosquito pools can help to identify areas of risk. Horse owners should work with their veterinarian to develop a plan to protect their animals.”

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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