The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is warning residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites after four new cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, were confirmed in Southwest Michigan.
MNC reported last week that three human cases of the virus had been detected within the state, one of which was fatal. These cases were within Kalamazoo and Berrien counties.
The new cases expand the geographic area to include Barry, Cass and Van Buren counties. Two cases in Cass and Van Buren counties were fatal, as was an earlier case in Kalamazoo County.
Mosquitoes also tested positive for EEE in Elkhart County in Indiana.
MDHHS suggests the following steps to avoid mosquito bites:
- Apply 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.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the country, with a 33 percent fatality rate.
For more information, visit michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.