Eastern equine encephalitis sickens Allegan Co. resident

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Health officials say someone from Allegan  County has been diagnosed with one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne  diseases in the country, known as Eastern equine encephalitis.

Although  rare in humans, EEE has a 33 percent fatality rate, according to the  Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Those who survive it  often have permanent brain damage.

The MDHHS says the Allegan  County resident with confirmed EEE was hospitalized in late August with  neurologic symptoms. State health officials say this is the first humane  case of EEE reported in Michigan since 2016, when three people were  infected.

They  say southwest Michigan has experienced EEE in people and horses in the  past, with the most recent outbreak in 2010. A vaccination can protect  horses from an EEE infection.

EEE is a virus that starts in birds  and is spread by mosquitoes near swamps and bogs. Only a few cases are  reported each year and typically involve symptoms of fever, headache,  chills and nausea. Symptoms may worsen, leading to inflammation of the  brain. Disorientation, seizures and coma are red flags of this. 

A  more common illness caused by mosquitoes is West Nile virus. The  Allegan County Health Department says so far, the state has tallied 44  human cases of West Nile and two fatalities.

The MDHHS warns mosquito-borne illnesses will continue to be a risk until freezing temperatures set in, which Storm Team 8 says likely won't happen until October.

Residents  are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing  repellant with DEET, dumping out any standing water, wearing thicker,  long-sleeved shirts and pants, and avoiding outside during peak feeding  times for mosquitoes.



CDC on Eastern equine encephalitis

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