On September 15th the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services informed that an adult from Barry County is suspected of having the rare and dangerous mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis, also known as Triple E. If the suspected human case is confirmed through lab testing later this week, it would be the first person with EEE this year in Michigan.
This virus is one of the deadliest mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill. It leaves many survivors with physical and mental disabilities. It kills 90% of the horses sickened by the virus. There is no vaccine for EEE, no treatment and there’s no cure.
MDHHS now urges people in 10 Michigan counties — Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland — to cancel or postpone outdoor events that take place at or after dusk to prevent more people from contracting the virus.
Children under 15, adults older than 50 at greatest risk
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.
To avoid EEE, health officials suggest following these steps:
- Use insect repellents containing DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin or clothing, following 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 window 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 may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
Credit: Original article written by: Kristen Jordan Shamus. Published in USA Today, 09/16/2020: