NEWAYGO COUNT, Mich. — Newaygo County confirmed the second case of EEE, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, in a horse.
Officials say this "intensifies the need for both horse owners and Michigan residents to take precautions" as EEE is a serious disease causing swelling of the brain.
Brendan Earl, Kent County's Supervising Sanitarian, said in an interview with Fox 17 that 10 horses have died across the state from EEE, with 2 horses being from Kent County.
Earl confirmed that there has been no known cases of EEE in humans in Michigan this year.
While EEE is not transmittable through person-to-person contact, you can get it through a bite from an infected mosquito. Using repellants containing DEET, wearing long-sleeve shirts, shoes, and pants when outside - especially when near water or in the woods, and avoiding outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active can reduce your risk of contracting the virus.
Health effects from EEE are rare in humans, as 4-5% of those bitten by an infected mosquito will get sick, and only 1% of that will see serious symptoms, including encephalitis. Typical symptoms are fatigue and other flu-like symptoms.
Michigan's worst outbreak of EEE was in 2019 when 10 human cases were reported in 7 counties. Six of those cases were fatal.
Newaygo County Emergency Services Officials released the following advice on avoiding EEE:
- Avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes that carry EEE virus are most active.
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.