LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) — A fifth person in Michigan has died due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis, state health officials announced on Monday.
The Cass County resident died due to EEE, and the department also confirmed an additional horse diagnosed with the disease in Allegan County.
So far, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said that 10 people have been diagnosed with EEE, resulting in five deaths. Cases were in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
“The risk of EEE continues if there has not been a sustained period of freezing temperatures,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “We urge residents to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.”
According to the department, EEE has been confirmed in 40 animals in 16 counties, which are: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Tuscola and Van Buren.
Earlier this month, a 4th person died due to EEE. The virus has a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. According to health officials, the disease is spread from a mosquito carrying the viruses. Any persons under the age of 15 and over the age of 50 are at a greater risk.
Residents should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by:
- Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitos that carry the EEE virus are most active.
- Applying 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.
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
- Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
- Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
More information is available at Michigan.gov/EEE.