Michigan Health officials have reportedly issued a warning against the mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) which has infected at least one human and 22 horses in 10 counties.
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) said in a statement, “EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill.”
The department explained that “People can be infected with EEE from one bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection. More than 25 percent of the nation’s EEE cases last year were diagnosed in Michigan. The risk of bites is highest for people who work and play outdoors in affected areas.”
Officials announced that aerial treatment is underway in high-risk areas in at least 10 counties to prevent the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis.
Health officials have also urged residents to cancel or postpone outdoor events that happen at night.
Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the MDHHS said in a statement, “MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly those involving children, to reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes.”
USA Today reported, “This suspected EEE case in a Michigan resident shows this is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders and calls for continued actions to prevent exposure, including aerial treatment.”
It added, “Signs of EEE infection include sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said EEE infected 38 people in the U.S. last year.