Health officials remind Michiganders to protect themselves against mosquito bites
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 17, 2018
CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112
LANSING, Mich. - Health officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Allegan County Health Department have confirmed an infection of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in an Allegan County resident. The individual was hospitalized in late August with a neurologic illness.
EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S., with a 33 percent fatality rate. The disease can often leave survivors with lasting brain damage.
The southwestern region of the state has experienced outbreaks of this mosquito-borne disease in people and horses in the past, with the most recent outbreaks occurring in the early 1980s, mid-1990s and 2010. This is the first human case reported in Michigan since 2016, when three people were infected. Mosquito-borne illness will continue to be a risk in Michigan until late fall when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing. Michigan residents are reminded to protect themselves against mosquito bites.
Horse owners should note that EEE can also cause neurologic illness in horses. However, vaccination can protect horses from infection with EEE.
As a reminder, West Nile virus is continuing to cause illness in people across the state, with a total of 44 cases and two fatalities reported to date. WNV has also been identified in 149 mosquito pools, 115 birds and one horse throughout the state.
For more information, please see the full release from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
In addition, the summer 2018 issue of the MSU VDL's newsletter, Diagnostic News, featured an article on EEE and WNV.