4th Michigan resident dies from mosquito-borne EEE

    A fourth Michigan resident has died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.

    The victim was a resident of Calhoun County.

    EEE has been confirmed in nine people in Michigan in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

    Thirty-three animals from Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties have also had EEE.

    What is EEE?

    • Eastern equine encephalitis is a disease caused by a virus spread from infected mosquitos that can cause inflammation of the brain.
      • Viruses spread by mosquitos are referred to as arboviruses. West Nile is another kind of arbovirus.
    • EEE virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Transmission does not occur directly from person to person.
      • Only about 4-5% of human EEEV infections result in EEE.
    • It takes 4 to 10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito to develop symptoms of EEE.
    • Symptoms include: sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches, severe encephalitis, headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis.
      • People who experience symptoms are urged to see a doctor as soon as possible. Those infected could get permanent brain damage, go into a coma, or die.
    • The virus is built up in a particular area through an amplification cycle:
      • Infected mosquitos feed on birds, infecting them in the process.
      • Uninfected mosquitos then feed on infected birds and become infected themselves.
    • EEE is typically found along the East Coast and Gulf Coast, along with the Great Lakes region.
    • Once an area has a hard frost, mosquito activity dies down and the virus goes dormant until spring.
    • A vaccine has been developed for horses, but no human vaccine is available.
    • In the US, an average of 7 human cases of EEE are reported annually.
    • The disease kills one-third of patients and leaves 80% of survivors with mild to severe brain damage.
    • Read more: Eastern Equine Encephalitis (CDC)

    EEE in Michigan

    • As of Sunday, EEE was confirmed in nine people and three have died in six counties.
      • Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties
    • Cases have also been confirmed in 30 animals from 15 counties.
      • Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties
    • Aerial treatments for several counties were scheduled for Sunday night, but were postponed due to weather.
      • Areas of Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties were set for treatment Monday night. A small part of northern Washtenaw County will also be treated.
    • Aerial spraying is used to control and reduce the number of mosquitos and reduce the chances for a virus to spread.
      • Airplanes spray very low volumes of adulticide or larvicide in areas where mosquitos are spreading viruses.
      • Larvicides kill larvae that hatch from eggs within 1-4 days.
      • Adulticides kill adult mosquitos immediately.
      • Read more: What You Need to Know About Aerial Spraying

    How to protect yourself from EEE

    • Apply insect repellents.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts.
    • Use window and door screens.
    • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying water from buckets, kiddie pools and tires.

    Parts of nation see worst outbreak…in more than a half-century [article]

    • Three have died in Michigan, three in Massachusetts, two in Connecticut and one in Rhode Island.
    • Michigan’s EEE outbreak is its worst in more than a decade. Massachusetts, with 12 cases, is seeing its worst outbreak since 1956.
      • Aerial sprays have taken place a record six times this year in Massachusetts.
    • “It looks like 2019 is clearly the beginning of our next outbreak,” said Catherine Brown of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
    • Brown believes EEEV is more widespread this year because of an ongoing extended period of warm weather.
      • Warm weather speeds up the reproduction process of mosquitos and the life cycle of the virus.
    • Brown says that outbreaks are often caused by a new strain being introduced to a region.
      • She believes a new strain of EEEV came to the Northeast from birds migrating from Florida.

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