KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The Kent County Health Department is urging people to use caution after officials found a horse with Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, this past week.
It comes after EEE impacted West Michigan particularly hard last year.
The infection usually only affects horses, but in 2019 Michigan saw a record-breaking 10 human cases that resulted in six deaths.
EEE is transmitted by mosquitos.
The health department says they learned about the positive case from the state health department after an autopsy was conducted on the infect horse.
There is also another case in Newaygo County near Sand Lake, bringing the total number of horses infected in the state to 10.
Despite the cases and record number of human infections last year, officials with KCHD says now is not the time to worry.
There are zero human cases currently in Michigan. Officials add if a person is infected, only four to five percent show symptoms with just one percent at serious risk.
“Take the precautions that you should,” said Brendan Earl, KCHS supervising sanitarian. “Try to limit your time outdoors at dusk and dawn, make sure that you try to wear a long sleeve and long pants at that time to try and prevent mosquito bites, and wear mosquito repellent that has 25 percent deet in it.”
Earl also encourages people to get rid of stagnant water near their homes.
If a person does start to show symptoms, Earl says it will mimic the flu with chills, fever, and body aches.