LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Health Officers are warning as they investigate three possible cases of people with Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) .
According to the CDC, the rare but deadly mosquito-borne virus can cause brain infections and swelling. Only a few cases in the US are reported each year, but about 33% of people with EEE die, and many survivors have ongoing neurological problems.
READ: 4th in Massachusetts has contracted a deadly mosquito virus
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says the three investigated cases are in Kalamazoo and Berrien. The department also claims to have confirmed a case of California encephalitis virus in a resident of Genesee County.
Symptoms of EEE
Symptoms of EEE include sudden onset of fever, chills, pain in the body and joints. Symptoms of California encephalitis virus include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and lethargy.
Also fatal to horses
EEE is also fatal to horses. In a press release Monday, the department said six horses in Barry, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties had contracted the virus and died.
Horses are not vaccinated. There is vaccination for horses, but not for humans.
Two deer in Barry and Cass counties have also been diagnosed with EEE.
Steps to Take
Now, before the busy weekend of travel, MDHHS is urging everyone to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Here are the precautions the department urges everyone to take:
- Apply insect repellents containing the active ingredient DEET or another product approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to exposed skin or clothing and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, Apply insect repellent to clothing to prevent bites.
- Support screening for windows and doors to help keep mosquitoes out.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites in the home, such as buckets, unused children's pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
- Use nets and / or fans above outdoor dining areas.