Spraying for mosquitoes in battle against EEE set for Sept. 22, weather permitting

An area of Oceola and Genoa townships — bordered roughly by Golf Club Road to the north, Euler Road to the east, Brighton Road to the south, and Beattie Road to the west (see the map below) — will be sprayed, weather permitting, on the evening of Tuesday, Sept. 22, in the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service’s battle against the deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus.

SOURCE: Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division

Spraying has already taken place in other areas of the state to kill mosquitoes, which carry the virus. There are 32 horses infected with EEE, including one in Livingston county. The other horses are located in the counties of Barry, Claire, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland, as well as a human infected with EEE in Barry County.

To reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes, MDHHS is continuing to encourage local officials to consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly activities involving children. To protect the public health, the recommendation is being made out of an abundance of caution, and applies until the first hard frost of the year.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS underscored the importance of the aerial treatment: “There is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders as we know mosquitoes are carrying this potentially deadly disease in these areas,” Khaldun said. “Last year, 10 families were devastated by this disease and we are trying to protect others from being infected.”

Aerial treatment schedules are weather-dependent and may change. The most up-to-date information will be posted on Michigan.gov/EEE.

Aerial treatment is conducted using specialized aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until the following dawn.

The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development has issued an emergency rule temporarily amending the rule on notification and participation for community pesticide applications for aerial spraying treatment across affected counties.

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 and a 90 percent fatality rate in horses that become ill. People can be infected with EEE and other mosquito-borne diseases from the bite of a mosquito carrying the viruses.

Signs of EEE infection 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. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.

Residents can stay healthy by following steps to avoid mosquito bites:

• Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

• Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

• 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.

For more information about EEE, visit Michigan.gov/EEE.

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