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Health officials are urging people to stay indoors, suspecting a rare mosquito-borne virus in Michigan

Michigan health officials are reportedly urging people to stay indoors after 10 confirmed cases of mosquito-borne virus eastern equine encephalitis in 22 horses and one suspected human case.

The Michigan Department of Health has confirmed 22 horse cases in 10 counties and a suspected human case in Barry County as of Wednesday, the department said in an announcement.

Officials said air care will begin Wednesday evening in some high-risk areas of the state to prevent the spread of eastern equine encephalitis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also urges people in Barry County, as well as the counties of Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland, to cancel or postpone events at the open that take place after dark to prevent more people from contracting the virus, according to USA Today.

“MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling, or canceling outdoor activities that take place at or after sunset, particularly those involving children, to reduce the risk that people are bitten by mosquitoes, “said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Chief Medical Executive and Chief Deputy for Health at MDHHS, in a statement, according to USA Today.

Eastern equine encephalitis is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33% mortality rate in people who become ill, according to the Michigan Department of Health. According to the department, people under the age of 1

5 or over 50 are most at risk of serious illness as a result of infection and the risk of bites is higher for people who work and play outdoors in affected areas.

The department said the 22 reported cases in horses are double the number of cases from the same period last year. According to the state, more than 25 percent of the nation’s eastern equine encephalitis cases were diagnosed in Michigan last year.

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