Fifth person dies due to EEE

Photo: CDC / James Gathany
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CASS COUNTY, MI (WILX) -- A fifth death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in a Cass County resident, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced on Monday.

The department also said on Monday that an additional horse has also been diagnosed with the disease in Allegan County.

The department said that although frost is predicted in parts of the state for Monday night, you should still continue to take precautions against mosquitoes.

“The risk of EEE continues if there has not been a sustained period of freezing temperatures,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “We urge residents to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

The MDHHS said the latest animal case confirmed in Allegan County showed symptoms of the disease back on Oct. 1.

The department said parts of Allegan County were treated on Oct. 3 and Oct. 6.

The MDHHS said EEE has been confirmed in 10 people with five fatalities.

The MDHHS said cases resided in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.

The department said EEE has been confirmed in 40 animals from the following 16 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Tuscola and Van Buren.

The MDHHS said EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. with a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill.

The MDHHS urges residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes by:
• Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes that carry the EEE virus are most active.
• Applying 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.
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply 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 kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
• Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

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