Killer Mosquitoes? State Says Two Horses Dead; Are People Next?
No, it's not a cheap 1950's B-Horror movie. The Michigan Department of Health and Human services has issued a warning to Michiganders, and specifically in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties, to be extra careful about mosquito bites, as summer begins to wind down.
The MDHHS says,
"As of Aug. 12, two cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been confirmed in horses in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties. Neither horse was vaccinated against EEE and both animals have died. There is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people. These equine deaths indicate that EEE virus activity is increasing and provides warning that human cases could also occur,” - Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health.
According to MDHHS, this part of the state "has experienced outbreaks of this mosquito-borne disease in horses and people in the past, with the most recent outbreaks occurring in the early 1980s, mid-1990s and 2010. EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S., with a 33 percent fatality rate among humans who become ill and a 90 percent fatality rate among horses that become ill."
Here are some tips from MDHHS on how 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.