Probable EEE case reported in LaPorte County

Last year, there were 12 human cases of the virus in MA that resulted in six deaths, according to the state.

Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) is present across the eastern United States as well as parts of the Midwest, but is generally rare in humans, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In addition to the suspected case, 22 horses across 10 counties in the state have been confirmed to have EEE, which has put residents of those areas at risk of being infected.

On average, there are only seven cases of EEE in the U.S. every year, but in 2019 six people died from the mosquito-borne virus in MI, as there were 38 confirmed infections across the country.

To reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes, the MDHHS is encouraging local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly activities involving children.

The state is conducting aerial treatment across several "high-risk areas" in an effort to reduce the number of mosquitoes spreading the virus. Many individuals who recover may still experience long-term complications.

Often, the virus causes a systemic febrile illness or neurologic disease, including encephalitis, or the infection of the brain, and meningitis, the infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

"EEE is one of the most unsafe mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill and a 90 percent fatality rate in horses that become ill". More than 95 percent of those infected with EEE in MA since 2000 were exposed before mid-September, officials said.

About a third of all people who develop encephalitis due to EEE infection die. The fifth human case was identified in a woman in her 60s. Mosquitos carrying EEE typically do not fly at temperatures below 50 degrees.

Use EPA-registered insect repellents like DEET.

The virus is contracted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Residents should wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers when they are outdoors.



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