HAMBURG TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Livingston County Health Department said that they have confirmed the 17th case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a horse from Hamburg Township.
The horse, an unvaccinated 3-year-old Paint gelding, had a sudden onset of neurological signs on Sept. 23 and was euthanized. According to the health department, there have been no human cases of EEE reported in Livingston County.
According to the state, there have been nine cases of EEE confirmed in residents of Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, including three deaths.
There have also been 17 animal cases of EEE confirmed; 15 equine and 2 canines, which were 2 wolf pups who both died at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek.
EEE is very rare, but it is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. The virus is transmitted to humans and other mammals through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Severe cases of EEE infection begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures and coma. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider.
The state is reminding people that mosquitoes capable of transmitting the disease are assumed to be widespread throughout the region and will remain until the first hard frost reduces the mosquito population.
Michigan is also spraying in 14 counties for mosquitoes to stop the spread of EEE.
Residents should take these steps to avoid contracting EEE
- Avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that carry EEE virus are most active.
- Apply 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.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.