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Eastern Equine Encephalitis Cases in 2020 Outpacing 2019

According to a recent press release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the number of confirmed Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) cases in Michigan have doubled in 2020 compared to this time last year. With EEE being one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. that affects both animals and humans, state health officials are encouraging residents to take extra precautions in the coming months.

“We strongly urge Michiganders to take precautions against mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Mosquito-borne diseases can cause long-term health effects in people, even death. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches. Severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis and even death can also occur.”

Even though Michigan is experiencing cooler temperatures, this should not cause residents to ease up on the precautions that they are taking. Typically, mosquito-borne illnesses like EEE continue to pose a risk to both animals and humans until about mid-October after there have been at least two hard frosts.

Michigan residents should protect themselves by:

  • Applying insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved products, to exposed skin or clothing and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Applying insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused children’s pools, old tires, or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

As a Michigan Pesticide Applicator, make sure you share this information with your clients when appropriate, and keep your practices up-to-date with the Michigan Mosquito Management 8 Credit CE course bundle.

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