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Tag Archive | "EEE"

Michigan resident infected with Eastern equine encephalitis


LANSING, Mich. – Health officials from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Allegan County Health Department have confirmed an infection of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) in an Allegan County resident. The individual was hospitalized in late August with a neurologic illness.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S., with a 33 percent fatality rate. The disease can often leave survivors with lasting brain damage.

The southwestern region of the state has experienced outbreaks of this mosquito-borne disease in people and horses in the past, with the most recent outbreaks occurring in the early 1980s, mid-1990s and 2010. This is the first human case reported in Michigan since 2016, when three people were infected. Mosquito-borne illness will continue to be a risk in Michigan until late fall when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing. Michigan residents are reminded to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“There is still plenty of mosquito season left in Michigan,” said Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive. “When outdoors, Michigan residents are urged to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites including using mosquito repellent and wearing long pants and long sleeves.”

Horse owners should note that EEE can also cause neurologic illness in horses. However, vaccination can protect horses from infection with EEE.

EEE is a virus of birds that is spread by mosquitoes near swamps and bogs. Human cases are rare, with only a few cases reported each year in the U.S. People who become ill with EEE may experience fever, headache, chills and nausea. In some cases, symptoms may progress to inflammation of the brain, signaled by disorientation, seizures and coma. Physicians treating patients with these symptoms should consider testing for EEE and other mosquito-borne viruses and should report suspected cases to their local health department.

As a reminder, West Nile virus is continuing to cause illness in people across the state, with a total of 44 cases and two fatalities reported to date. WNV has also been identified in 149 mosquito pools, 115 birds and one horse throughout the state.

Steps people should take to protect themselves include:

• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

• Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or other EPA- approved product to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.

• Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

• Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.

• Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

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EEE found in Barry County horse


 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the state’s first reported case in 2015 of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a Barry County horse.The testing was done by the private practitioner who sent the blood sample directly to the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Lab in Ames, Iowa.

MDARD was notified on September 4 that a Barry County horse had a positive blood test suggesting EEE exposure, and the horse had already been euthanized. This horse had not been vaccinated for EEE.

“EEE and other mosquito-borne illnesses are a huge concern for our equine community,” said Dr. James Averill, MDARD’s State Veterinarian. “Horse owners in Michigan should be aware of the risk and take extra measures to protect their animals.”

Cases of EEE in horses are a sign that people should take steps to guard themselves against mosquitoes by applying repellent, and wearing protective clothing.

For 2015, MDARD is working with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health on a surveillance program for mosquito-borne viruses in animals. Veterinarians working with horses showing neurological signs are encouraged to contact MDARD at 517-284-5767 for information on assistance with diagnostic testing.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a serious zoonotic viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes. The virus mainly causes disease in horses but can also cause serious illness in poultry, people, and other animals such as deer and even dogs. The disease is not spread through horse-to-horse or horse-to-human contact. In horses, EEE can cause severe swelling of the brain, stumbling, depression and sometimes blindness. There is an effective vaccine for horses and horse owners should work with their veterinarian to determine if their horse needs to be vaccinated.

Mosquito management is vital in the prevention of mosquito-borne illnesses that cause illness in both humans and in horses. People should take steps to guard their animals against mosquitoes by eliminating standing water and bringing horses and pets indoors from early evening until after sunrise when mosquitoes are out in full force.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a reportable disease in both humans and animals. If there is a suspected case in humans, physicians are encouraged to contact their local health department. If you suspect an animal may have EEE, you should report it to MDARD at 800-292-3939, or for after-hours emergencies, 517-373-0440.

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