LANSING, Mich. — After a weather-related delay, aerial spraying is planned in four Michigan counties to combat a rare mosquito-borne virus.
The state health department says areas in Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties are first on the list Monday night.
Spraying in 10 other counties hasn't been scheduled yet.
It's the first aerial treatments in Michigan since 1980.
The mosquito borne illness has a 33% fatality rate, but despite the threat officials at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department say they're in the dark when it comes to a timeline, but the said being bit by a mosquito is still very much avoidable.
"This is just one tool in the toolkit for mosquito prevention...which is what the goal is, so we encourage the citizens to follow the guidelines we released...like personal protection...wearing DEET, long sleeves, avoiding unnecessary activities from dusk till dawn," Dr. Daniel Woodall, medical director at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department said.
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has been confirmed in humans or animals in southern and southwestern Michigan.
There have been three human deaths.
The state says the virus has been identified in at least 30 animals in 15 counties.
The cities of Kalamazoo and Portage have been scratched from the spraying list because of local opposition.
Residents who want to opt out of the EEE spraying can contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are ways to protect yourself against mosquito bites:
• Use an EPA-approved insect repellent containing an active ingredient like DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Always follow the directions on the package.
• Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors as the weather permits.
• Consider limiting time outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
• Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes outside.
• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, children's toys, or other containers around your home.
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