Fall weather, aerial treatment could fight mosquito disease in Michigan

Posted at 10:42 AM, Sep 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-19 10:42:12-04

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Cooler temperatures expected this weekend should help control the spread of a mosquito-borne virus that has infected one person and 22 horses in 10 counties, Michigan authorities said Friday.

Horses can be vaccinated for the disease, known as eastern equine encephalitis, but there is no equivalent for humans. The state announced the suspected human case in a resident of western Barry County on Tuesday.

Authorities said reducing exposure to mosquitoes is the best way of preventing human infection, including insect repellent, wearing long sleeves or pants outdoors and using screens on doors and windows to keep mosquitoes out.

Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services also has used aerial spray treatment across more than 226,000 acres to help prevent spread of the disease, including 69,000 acres treated on Thursday.

The department said nighttime temperatures below 50 degrees this weekend should keep mosquitoes that carry the disease inactive. But they said residents should continue taking precautions until there is a hard freeze.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 38 human cases and 19 deaths from the virus last year and authorities in several Northeastern states warned residents this summer that the disease had been detected in mosquitoes.