Aerial spraying continues in Michigan to combat mosquito-borne illness EEE

LANSING, Mich. – Monday night was the first night of aerial treatment to combat Eastern equine encephalitis, and the treatment covered 128,000 acres. More counties are scheduled for treatment Tuesday night, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Some originally planned treatment zones were only partially treated Monday and will be on Tuesday night's schedule. Treatment was completed in St. Joseph County in areas 12-2 and 12-3. Other treatment zones were selected as weather alternatives in case of storms.

As of Monday, EEE was confirmed in nine people, with three fatalities. Those cases are in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

Cases have been confirmed in 33 animals from 15 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren. 

Aerial treatments in Michigan to combat EEE postponed due to weather

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
  • About EEE

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
  • Chills
  • Body and joint aches
  • Severe encephalitis
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis

Those infected could get permanent brain damage, go into a coma or die.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.