The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reminding residents to protect against mosquito bites.
Mosquitoes are known carriers of communicable diseases like West Nile Virus and malaria. So far this year, there have been two confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Michigan. The disease was detected in horses in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph Counties. Neither horse was vaccinated and both have died. There is a vaccine for EEE available for horses but not for humans. People can become infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus, though it isn’t spread from horse-to-horse or human-to-human contact. The disease can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headaches, disorientations, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death can result in some cases.
Officials remind people when outdoors or around horses, to use a DEET based repellent. Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. Maintain window and door screens to keep the insects outside and remove any standing water to prevent mosquito breeding grounds. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.