Another EEE case confirmed

    The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories has confirmed one new human case of mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in an adult resident of Calhoun County this week.  Eight cases of EEE have now been confirmed in residents of Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, and Van Buren counties, including three deaths.
    “The increasing geographic spread and increasing number of EEE cases in humans and animals indicate that the risk for EEE is ongoing,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “We continue to urge Michiganders to protect themselves against mosquito bites until the first hard frost.”
    Additionally, testing at the Michigan State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory has recently identified EEE in one animal each in Calhoun, Jackson and Montcalm counties. As of Sept. 20, EEE has been confirmed in 21 animals from 11 counties: Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, La-peer, Montcalm, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. There is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people. Additional animal cases are under investigation.
    EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the viruses. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection.
    Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.

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