Three people in Michigan have died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), according to Michigan.gov.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections (encephalitis). Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. Most occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Approximately 30 percent of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.
Health officials in Michigan are reporting that this year, the EEE virus has infected seven people in the state, including one in Barry County, one in Berrien County, one in Cass County, three in Kalamazoo County and one in Van Buren County. Three of those infected have since died.
The Michigan Health Department is warning residents of the risk of mosquito bites and to reconsider evening outdoor activities, especially involving children, while mosquitoes are still active. Mosquitoes shouldn’t be as much as a risk after the area has a hard frost.
The EEE has also infected animals including nine horses, including three in Kalamazoo, three in St. Joseph, two in Barry and one in Lapeer counties. Five deer were infected, including one in Cass, one in Barry, one in Kalamazoo, one in Van Buren and one in Genesee counties.
Additionally, according to the health department, two Michigan residents (one in Genesee County and one in Washtenaw County were infected with a California group virus.
West Nile virus (WNV) has sickened two Michigan residents, including one in Genesee County and one in Wayne County. Routine testing of the blood supply identified as WNV in four Michigan blood donors.
Preventing mosquito bites and arboviruses
The most effective way to avoid arboviruses, viruses transmitted by mosquitoes or other insects , is to prevent mosquito bites. Be aware of the West Nile virus and other arbovirus activity in your area and take action to protect yourself and your family.
Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women, according to Michigan.gov.
• Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para menthane-diol (PMD)
Tips for babies and children
• Always follow instructions when applying insect repellent to children.
• Do not use insect repellent on babies younger than 2 months old.
• Do not apply insect repellent onto a child’s hands, eyes, mouth, and cut or irritated skin.
• Adults: Spray insect repellent onto your hands and then apply to a child’s face.
• Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD) on children under 3 years old.