Eastern equine encephalitis case confirmed in Allegan Co.

Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 23:03:48-04

ALLEGAN, Mich. -- Health officials say a case of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in an Allegan County resident.

The Allegan County Health Department on Monday said the disease was confirmed after the person was hospitalized in late August with a neurological illness.  It's the first confirmed case in Michigan since three people were infected in 2016.

EEE is a dangerous mosquito-borne illness with a 33 percent fatality rate that can also leave lasting brain damage in survivors, the health department said.

The disease is rare in humans, with symptoms that include fever, headache, chills and nausea.  The health department says symptoms can also progress to brain inflammation.

“There is still plenty of mosquito season left in Michigan,” Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a release. “When outdoors, Michigan residents are urged to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites including using mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and long sleeves."

The health department says EEE can also cause neurologic illness in horses. A vaccine can protect horses from infection.

Officials are also reminding people that the West Nile virus is continuing to cause illness across the state.  People are urged to take precautions like using insect repellent containing DEET and avoiding being outside during the dawn and dusk hours when mosquito activity is highest.