Spraying Begins Tonight In 10 MI Counties Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases After Cases Spike In Animals­

WWJ News
September 16, 2020 - 8:51 am



(WWJ) Aerial sprays to stop the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis will take place in Oakland County and nine other counties in the state starting Wednesday evening.

The Michigan Health Department says there have been 22 confirmed cases of encephalitis in horses this year. 

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That's twice as many as this time a year ago. 

There has been one human cases in Barry County in west Michigan so far this year. Triple E is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the country with a 33% fatality rate in people who become sick. 

Related: First Human Case Of West Nile Virus For 2020 Confirmed In Michigan

The aerial treatments will be with the pesticide called Merus 3.0 which is the same product used last year.  It kills adult mosquitoes on contact. 

No additional information will be provided on the individual who tested positive, officials said, but Michiganders are strongly urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the suspected EEE case along with nine confirmed cases of West Nile Virus.

“This suspected EEE case in a Michigan resident shows this is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders and calls for continued actions to prevent exposure, including aerial treatment,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly those involving children to reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes.”

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.

Treatment is scheduled for: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland. Additional areas may be selected for treatment if new human or animal cases occur outside of the currently identified zones.

Aerial treatment will be conducted by Clarke from St. Charles, Ill., using specialized aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until the following dawn. Treatment will be conducted using Merus 3.0, the same product used in 2019 in Michigan to treat 557,000 acres. Merus 3.0 is registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development, and is labeled for public health use over residential areas.

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. 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.

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