EEE confirmed in a young Clare County horse

The most serious mosquito-borne illness caused 10 human cases and six deaths last summer
 (MGN Image)
(MGN Image) (WLUC)
Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 10:53 AM EDT
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CLARE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan’s first case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis was confirmed Tuesday in a horse at a Clare County farm.

An outbreak of the same mosquito-borne illness in Michigan last summer infected 10 people and was blamed for six deaths. Fifty animals around the state also were confirmed with the illness last summer.

EEE is the most dangerous mosquito-borne illness to animals and humans. It carries a 90% fatality rate for horses that become ill and a 33% fatality for humans that get it.

The new case announced Tuesday involves a 2-year-old filly at an undisclosed farm in Clare County.Symptoms of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, and body and joint aches. EEE infection can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis.

Permanent brain damage, coma, and death may also occur in some cases.

“Michiganders are strongly urged to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, who is Michigan’s chief medical executive. “It only takes one bite from a mosquito to transmit the virus, which can lead to severe neurologic illness, permanent disability, and sometimes death.”

Animal owners are urged to take the following steps to prevent EEE:

  • Talk to a veterinarian about vaccinating horses against EEE.
  • Place horses in a barn under fans from dusk to dawn.
  • Use an insect repellent on animals that is approved for the species.
  • Eliminate standing and stagnant water on the property, including feed buckets and bowls.

To protect humans from EEE:

  • Wear insect repellent that contains DEET or another active ingredient approved by the EPA.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Repair window and door screens so mosquitoes can’t get inside.
  • Eliminate sources of standing water, such as buckets and old tires.

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