State health officials have confirmed an Allegan County resident is infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said the infected resident was taken to a hospital in late August with a neurologic illness.
Health officials said 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.
“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.”
Officials want to remind horse owners that EEE can also cause neurologic illness in horses. A vaccine can protect the horse against the disease.
Human cases are rare with only a few being reported each year in the U.S.
Symptoms may include fever, headache, chills, and nausea. They may progress to inflammation of the brain, signaled by disorientation, seizures, and coma.
Health officials listed ways to protect themselves, including:
- 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.
For more information on EEE, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s EEE website.