New Case of EEE Announced in St. Joseph County
Saturday October 5, 2019
The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services has informed the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency of a new animal case of EEE in St. Joseph County. This brings the total number of known cases of EEE in St. Joseph county to four; all four in horses. To combat this disease, aerial spraying of insecticide has been completed in areas of the state where EEE cases have been confirmed.
The latest horse diagnosed with EEE first presented with symptoms on Sept. 23, prior to treatment beginning. Areas where aerial spraying has been completed in St. Joseph county include, Areas 12-1, 12-2 and 12-3. Additional areas of the state have been treated as identified in the Aerial Treatment Zones Map.
As of Oct. 4, EEE has been confirmed in nine people, with four fatalities. Cases are in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. In addition, cases have occurred in 34 animals from 15 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren. The mosquitos that spread EEE are still active and were caught in traps set Oct. 1 in southwest Michigan.
Although aerial spray is considered necessary to reduce human risk, it will not eliminate it. Rebecca Burns, Health Officer, reminds all residents of St. Joseph, Branch, and Hillsdale counties to, “be vigilant about protecting yourself and your family members from mosquito bites, especially those 15 years old and younger and those that are 50 years old and older who are more likely to develop a severe case of the EEE disease.” Michigan residents can stay healthy by following these steps to avoid mosquito bites:
Avoid being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitos that carry the EEE virus are most active.
Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow 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.