LANSING, Michigan. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is encouraging local authorities in counties affected by eastern equine encephalitis to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities that occur on or after evening, including children. Are included.
This will include events such as late evening sports practice or games. The MDHHS is being recommended with an abundance of caution to protect public health, and applies until the first harsh frost of the year.
As of Thursday, September 10, EEE has been confirmed in 19 horses in nine Michigan counties, including Barry, Claire, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Maxta, Montcalm, Nuego and Oakland. Additional animal cases are under investigation.
This is twice the same animal cases as last year. To date, no human cases have been identified. The EEE vaccine is available for horses, but not for people.
In 2019, there were 10 human cases of EEE in Michigan, which is equivalent to the total number of cases combined for the past 10 years.
Last year, Michigan accounted for 25 percent of EEE cases nationally. It is unknown why some years are more severe than others, although weather, including temperature and rainfall, are believed to play a role.
“As cases of animals continue to increase, so does the risk for people,” Dr. Jong Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and head deputy health. “People get EEE in the same way that horses do – from infected mosquito bites – so in the case of the horse, people in that area are also at risk. Limiting exposure to outdoor activities, especially close to dusk When mosquitoes are most active, the best way is to protect you and your family from this deadly disease. “
EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatal rate among people who become ill. Individuals between the age of 15 and 50 are at greatest risk of getting serious illness after infection.
Signs of EEE infection include fever, chills, sudden onset of body and joint pain, which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they are experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. In some cases permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur.
Residents should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Avoiding being out from dawn to dusk when mosquitoes that carry the EEE virus are most active.
- Apply insect repellents that contain active ingredient DEET, or other US Environmental Protection Agency-approved products to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow manufacturer’s instructions for use.
- Wear long-sleeved shirt and long pants when going out. Apply insect repellent to clothes to help prevent bites.
- Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out.
- Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the house such as buckets, unusable kiddie pools, old tires or similar places where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
- Using nets and / or fans in outdoor dining areas.
For more information about EEE, click here. You can also call the MDHHS hotline, which will now call 888-535-6136 for general questions about COVID-19 and EEE. The hotline is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Friday to Friday.
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Read more: Michigan reports 3 EEE-related deaths in worst outbreak in over a decade
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