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Michigan to begin spraying in 14 counties to fight spread of EEE mosquito virus

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Posted at 2:04 PM, Sep 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-27 14:04:38-04

Michigan will begin conducting aerial spraying in high risk areas to combat the spread of deadly disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

The spraying is scheduled to take place starting Sunday, Sept. 29 at 8 pm. It will occur in these counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, aerial spraying is conducted by low-flying aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until 4:30 a.m. the next morning, in areas of concern. Mosquito control professionals will apply approved pesticides as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes on contact.

“We are taking this step to help protect the health and safety of Michiganders in areas of the state that are being affected by this dangerous mosquito-borne disease,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a statement. “The continuing number of cases in both people and animals indicate an ongoing risk for EEE exposure. We continue to urge residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites until a hard frost.”

The pesticide being used is Merus 3.0 which is an organic pesticide containing 5 percent pyrethrin.

In general, MDHHS says health risks are not expected during or after spraying. No special precautions are recommended; however, residents and individuals who have known sensitivities to pyrethrins can reduce potential for exposure by staying indoors during spraying. Aerial spraying is not expected to have any impacts on surface water or drinking water.

As of Sept. 27, EEE has been confirmed in nine people, with three fatalities, in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. In addition, cases have occurred in 27 animals from 13 counties: Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.