Health experts concerned about EEE, West Nile Virus in Michigan

EEE confirmed in death of 22 horses in 10 Michigan counties

Cases of the mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus are rising in Michigan.

Officials are set to conduct aerial mosquito treatment Wednesday night in 10 Michigan counties that are considered high risk for the deadly disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

State officials said they’re concerned about increasing cases of EEE in horses and the first suspected human case in a man from Barry County.

Late summer and early autumn is the time of year when cases of West Nile Virus and EEE rise. These illnesses can be very debilitating -- EEE has a 33% fatality rate in those who catch it.

Tina Wescott said her husband Jeff went from being a healthy adult to being unable to walk in 10 days. His preliminary tests came back positive for EEE.

“He was in a coma for a couple of days and then when he opened his eyes for the first time that was a moment I’ll never forget,” Tina Wescott said.

The mosquito-borne illness has already killed 22 horses in 10 counties. There is a vaccine for horses, but not for humans.

The aerial spraying will target areas where animal cases have been confirmed, but everyone across Michigan is urged to take steps to avoid mosquitos.

Jeff Wescott’s condition is improving, but he still faces a long road to recovery. In addition to concerns about EEE, there have also been nine confirmed cases of West Nile Virus -- including cases in Wayne and Oakland counties and Detroit.

RELATED: Michigan confirms first 2020 human case of West Nile virus in Wayne County resident

In addition to wearing mosquito repellent, experts recommend getting rid of standing water around your property to remove potential breeding grounds and repairing any holes in window screens.

About the Authors:

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.