LANSING, Mich. – Health officials have confirmed another human case of Eastern equine encephalitis in Michigan as aerial spraying in 14 counties concludes.
The latest case was confirmed in a Cass County resident, officials said. Five additional cases of EEE have been confirmed in horses in Jackson, Kent and Tuscola counties, according to officials.
The illness in the Cass County resident and the horses was contracted before aerial treatment began on Sept 30, health officials said.
Aerial treatment covering more than 557,000 acres has been completed, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
"In one year, we have had more human EEE cases confirmed than in the past decade," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive and chief deputy of health for MDHHS. "We chose to conduct aerial treatment to protect the health and safety of Michiganders."
Aerial treatment was conducted in parts of Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Jackson, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Van Buren and Washtenaw counties, officials said.
Fort Custer Training Center, which is in both Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties, was also sprayed, according to the MDHHS.
EEE has been confirmed in 10 Michigan residents. Four people have died from the illness, officials said.
The confirmed cases were in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
Health officials have also confirmed cases of EEE in 39 animals from 16 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Tuscola and Van Buren counties.
EEE is a dangerous mosquito-borne illness with a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill. Many who survive the disease suffer from physical and mental disabilities, health experts said.
"We urge communities and residents to take precautions against mosquito bites, as the risk of EEE remains until the first hard frost," Khaldun said.
Additional aerial treatment is not planned because of upcoming weather conditions, officials said.
Here are steps residents can take to protect themselves from mosquito bites:
- Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitos that carry the EEE virus are most active.
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered products 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 windows 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 could lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.