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MDHHS reports one, new human case of EEE in southwest Michigan

Posted at 7:30 PM, Sep 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-20 19:30:28-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has confirmed a case pf Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in an adult resident of Calhoun County.

The MDHHS said eight cases have now been confirmed in residents of Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, including three deaths.

“The increasing geographic spread and increasing number of EEE cases in humans and animals indicate that the risk for EEE is ongoing,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to urge Michiganders to protect themselves against mosquito bites until the first hard frost.”

The MDHHS said MSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has recently identified EEE in one animal each in Calhoun, Jackson and Montcalm counties.

The MDHHS said as of Sept. 20, EEE has been confirmed in 21 animals from 11 counties: Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Montcalm, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. The department said there is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for humans.

The department said EEE is one of the most dangerous, mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S., with 33% fatality rate in people who become ill. Additionally, people can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus.

The MDHHS said residents can stay healthy by following these steps:
• 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.

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