6 additional EEE cases reported in horses in Michigan, expanding to Livingston County

State conducted second day of aerial treatment

Mosquito. (Image by Emphyrio from Pixabay)

With the second day of aerial treatment conducted for counties at risk of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) virus, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced Thursday that six more cases were confirmed in horses, expanding Livingston County to the list.

MDHHS said the new cases brings the total to 28 cases and 11 counties. In addition, one human case is suspected in Barry County.

The new EEE cases means expanding treatment in Jackson, Kent, Livingston and Montcalm counties, according to a press release from MDHHS.

“These additional cases of EEE in horses underscores the importance of providing aerial treatment in the affected counties,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “There is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders as we know mosquitoes are carrying this potentially deadly disease in these areas. Last year, 10 families were devastated by this disease and we are trying to protect others from being infected.”

Counties slated for treatment on Thursday were Kent, Newaygo, Oceana, Muskegon, Mecosta, Ionia.

Barry and Jackson counties were scheduled for Thursday depending on weather.

Aerial treatment began Wednesday, starting in Montcalm and Clare counties. More than 157,000 acres were treated.

“Horse owners are not required to vaccinate their animals for EEE,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM in the press release. “With consecutive years of widespread infection, though, EEE vaccinations should be a routine part of their animals' veterinary care.

"Like other diseases – especially mosquito-borne diseases that affect both animals and humans – a multi-pronged approach is needed. Addressing mosquitoes, protecting people, and safeguarding animals are all key and require coordinated actions by animal owners, veterinarians, homeowners, parents, and state and local government.”

Six deaths were reported in 2019.

For more information about the virus, visit Michigan.gov/EEE.

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.