First night of aerial treatment underway for Michigan counties at high risk of EEE

Treatment scheduled Wednesday night for Montcalm, Clare counties

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced Wednesday the first night of aerial treatment is underway to combat the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus in Montcalm and Clare counties.

Other counties -- including Kent, Newaygo, Oceana, Muskegon, Mecosta and Ionia counties -- may receive treatment Wednesday depending on the weather.

“We are taking this step in an effort to protect the health and safety of Michiganders in areas of the state where we know mosquitoes are carrying this potentially deadly disease,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “As people are spending more time outdoors because of COVID-19, they also need to be protecting themselves from mosquito bites.”

The following Michigan counties are expected to receive aerial treatment:

  • Barry County
  • Clare County
  • Ionia County
  • Isabella County
  • Jackson County
  • Kent County
  • Mecosta County
  • Montcalm County
  • Newaygo County
  • Oakland County

The MDHHS has confirmed 22 cases of EEE in horses across Michigan this year. Officials are also investigating additional potential cases in animals.

While EEE has been confirmed in horses, a West Michigan resident is also suspected of having the mosquito-borne illness -- the first human known to contract EEE this year in Michigan.

Preliminary test results indicate the patient, a Barry County resident, has EEE. Confirmatory testing is expected to be completed by the end of the week at the MDHHS Bureau of Laboratories.

No additional information will be provided on this individual.

Michiganders are strongly urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the suspected EEE case along with nine confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.

In 2019, six human deaths were linked to EEE. The outbreak at that time extended to 10 human cases and 46 animal cases.

About the Author:

DeJanay Booth joined WDIV as a web producer in July 2020. She previously worked as a news reporter in New Mexico before moving back to Michigan.