Not only are Michigan health officials dealing with the coronavirus, but they are also trying to contain the spread of a rare mosquito-borne disease.
Authorities are urging people to stay indoors after dark and protect themselves from mosquito bites after a Barry County resident is suspected of having Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a life-threatening disease caused by the EEE virus.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the suspected case of EEE on Tuesday.
“This suspected case of EEE in a Michigan resident shows that this is an ongoing threat to Michiganders’ health and safety and requires continued action to prevent exposure, including air treatment,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, said in a statement.
“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 chance of people being bitten by mosquitoes “.
Twenty-two horses in 10 counties were also confirmed to have EEE, twice the number of animal cases seen in Michigan around this time last year.
The state is conducting aerial care in several “high-risk areas” in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes that spread the virus.
Five confirmed human cases of EEE have been reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this year, starting September 9. Three cases have been reported in Massachusetts and two in Wisconsin.
There are typically only 5-10 human cases reported in the United States each year, according to the CDC. About 30% of all cases result in death. There was an unusual increase in the number of reported cases and deaths in 2019.
The incubation period for EEE ranges from four to 10 days, according to the CDC. Symptoms can be mild and could include fever, chills, aches and general discomfort, but severe cases can involve swelling of the brain or meningitis.