2 people die in SW Michigan from mosquito-borne illness

Posted at 4:26 PM, Sep 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-17 16:27:02-04

LANSING, Mich. — Two people in southwest Michigan have died from a rare mosquito-borne illness.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said it has confirmed four new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in southwest Michigan. Two of those cases were fatal.

There are now seven confirmed cases of EEE in Michigan that include Barry, Cass, Van Buren and Kalamazoo counties. The confirmed case in Kalamazoo County was also fatal.

MDHHS is encouraging local officials in the impacted areas to postpone or cancel outdoor activities set to take place after dusk to protect public health.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne illnesses in the United States with a 33% fatality rate for people who become ill and a 90% fatality rate for horses. There is a vaccine to protect horses from the illness, but not for humans.

People are advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves and pants and using insect repellent with DEET.

Symptoms of EEE include fever chills and body aches, and severe cases can cause headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, brain damage, coma and death.