Several counties in Michigan will undergo aerial treatment to combat Eastern equine encephalitis, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
Aerial treatment was supposed to begin Sunday evening and continue until 4:30 a.m. but has since been postponed due to inclement weather.
An updated aerial treatment schedule treatment is expected to be released Monday.
Three more EEE animal cases have been confirmed, with Allegan and Livingston counties impacted.
The counties slated for treatment include area 3-1 in Berrien County, area 5-2 in Cass County and areas 12-2 and 12-3 in St. Joseph County. Additional treatment will begin in areas 13-1, 5-1 and 12-1, which encompass parts of Van Buren, Cass and St. Joseph counties.
As of Sunday, EEE has been confirmed in nine people and three people have died in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. In addition, cases have occurred in 30 animals from 15 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren.
“Aerial treatment is being conducted because this disease represents an emergent threat to Michigan’s public health, and public health authorities must take decisive action to protect Michiganders,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “In the last few days, we have confirmed three new EEE cases in animals and two of those were in counties not previously affected by this deadly virus.”
While the aerial spray is meant to reduce human risk of catching EEE from mosquitoes, it's still important to protect yourself.
- Avoid being outside from dusk to dawn
- Apply insect repellents
- Wear long-sleeved shirts
- Use window, door screens to keep mosquitoes outside
- Empty water from buckets, kiddie pools, tires
- Use nets over outdoor eating areas
Health officials said EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. It has a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill.
People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. People under the age of 15 and over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of severe disease after being infected.
Symptoms of EEE
People who experience any of the following symptoms, are urged to see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Sudden onset of fever
- Body and joint aches
- Severe encephalitis
Those infected could get permanent brain damage, go into a coma, or die.
As of Sept. 16, nine cases of EEE have been confirmed in horses. There is a vaccine for horses, but not for people. All the horses that were diagnosed had not been vaccinated.