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Should you worry about EEE Spray?

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Posted at 7:36 PM, Sep 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-30 19:36:23-04

LANSING, Mich. — The aerial spraying to combat Eastern Equine Encephalitis was partially postponed, but residents in affected areas have no reason to be concerned.

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.

With that schedule unknown, residents are wondering if they have anything to be worried about.

"This is an organic pesticide that's even certified to be used around organic farms," said Dr. Daniel Woodall, Medical Director for the Barry-Eaton District Health Department. "It's such a small amount of substance...around one tablespoon per acre is what's being sprayed. It degrades rapidly."

Merus 3.0, that active ingredient in what the State of Michigan will use to combat the mosquito-borne illness, contains about five percent of a compound called Pyrethrin, which is found in chrysanthemum flowers.

"Pyrethrins are commonly used to kill mosquitoes, fleas, flies, moths, ants...and many other pests that have been registered for their use since the 1950s," said Rashmi Travis, Heath Officer for Jackson County.

Had the disease made its way to Michigan just a few weeks later, a spray might not have been necessary.

“We would love frost...I never thought I would like it to be cold this time of the year, but ideally it has to be a hard frost that can kill the mosquitoes," said Travis.

"I think the cause for concern is really low with this," said Woodall.

Any resident worried about the spray is always able to try and opt out.

They can do that by calling the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or sending them an email at eee@michigan.gov..

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