Officials are set to conduct air mosquito treatment in 10 Michigan counties considered to be at high risk for the deadly disease Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed 22 cases of EEE in horses throughout Michigan. Officials are also investigating other possible animal cases.
No human cases have been confirmed as of Sunday, but the number of cases in horses is double officials had confirmed this period last year, according to MDHHS.
TO READ: Oakland County Residents Urged to Protect Against Mosquito Bites Among Confirmed Cases of EEE
Health officials have determined that a targeted air treatment plan is needed. They said EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33% death rate for people who get sick.
Humans can get EEE from a bite from a mosquito carrying the virus, officials said.
People under the age of 1
Here are the counties scheduled to receive air care:
- Barry County
- County Clare
- Ionia County
- Isabella County
- Jackson County
- Kent County
- Mecosta County
- Montcalm County
- Newaygo County
- Oakland County
The treatment is scheduled for Wednesday evening, but it depends on the weather conditions.
“We are taking this step in an effort to protect the health and safety of Michiganders in areas of the state where we know mosquitoes are carriers of this potentially deadly disease,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS Medical CEO and Deputy. head of health. “As people spend more time outdoors due to COVID-19, they also need to protect themselves from mosquito bites.”
Signs of EEE infection include sudden onset of fever, chills, muscle and joint pain that can progress to severe encephalitis, resulting in headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they have these symptoms should contact a doctor.
LAST YEAR: 6th mosquito-borne EEE-related fatality reported in Michigan
Permanent brain damage, coma, and death can also occur in some cases.
The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has published a emergency rule temporarily change the notification and participation rule for community pesticide applications for aerial spraying treatment in affected counties. This means that mosquito control treatment will be required for those areas that are identified by the air treatment plan, with the exception of federal properties and tribal lands.
“As recent history has shown us, EEE can strike fast and can be deadly to humans and animals,” said MDARD Director Gary McDowell. “MDARD fully supports MDHHS’s work and commitment to protect public health, which is why we have removed an obstacle that could have prevented them from acting quickly.”
More areas could be selected for treatment if new human or animal cases were confirmed outside the areas currently identified.
The air treatment is conducted by specialized aircraft, starting in the early evening and continuing until the next sunrise. State-certified mosquito control professionals will apply an approved pesticide as an Ultra Low Volume Spray (ULV). ULV sprayers deliver very fine aerosol droplets that remain suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes on contact.
In general, according to the authorities, no health risks are expected during or after spraying. No special precautions are recommended, but anyone with known sensitivities to pyrethrins can reduce the potential for exposure by staying indoors during treatment.
Air treatment is not expected to have any impact on surface water or drinking water, officials said. Monitoring in 2019, when more than 557,000 Michigan acres were treated, found no increase in adverse effects on humans, animals, or insects associated with air treatment.
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