GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The rare but mosquito-borne eastern equine encephalitis has reached the counties of Kent and Newago.
The Kent County Health Department confirmed its first EEE case on Thursday. Health officials say the deer was infected by the virus and died, according to necropsy results published by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
MDHHS also advised Newgo County that a horse there tested positive for EEE. Newago County health officials say this is the first EEE case in a Newaygo County horse in more than a decade.
Both Kent County and Newgo County health officials emphasize that no EEE cases have been reported in their area. Newago County says there has never been a confirmed case of people with EEE.
Until the first severe frost of the season, MDHHS encourages people in all counties where EEE has surfaced to postpone, reschedule or cancel outdoor activities occurring at dusk or after dusk, especially at all events, related to children.
>> PDF: Number of EEE cases in Michigan since September 23, 201
This year, the EEE epidemic is already the worst state the state has experienced in more than a decade, MDHHS has already confirmed 8 human cases and 27 animal cases of the EEE, according to Newgo County Health Officers. Among the people who became infected with the virus, three were killed. The following cities have confirmed EEE cases with people this year:
- Bars: 1 person
- Berrien: 1 person  Calhoun: 1 person
- Cas: 1 person, deceased  Kalamazoo: 3 people; 1 died
- Van Buren: 1 person died
The following cities confirmed EEE animal cases this year:
- Bars: 4 animals
- Barien: 1 animal
- Calhoun: 1 animal
- ] Cas: 1 animal
- Genesee: 1 animal
- Jackson: 2 animals
- Kalamazoo: 6 animals
- Kent: 1 deer
- Paw: 1 animal
- Montcalm: 1 animal
- Newugo: 1 Con
- St. Joseph: 3 Animals
- Van Buren: 2 Animals
EEE is one of the most dangerous diseases that mosquitoes can transmit. Although human cases are extremely rare, approximately one in three people affected by EEE will die from it. Symptoms include fever, chills and body aches. Severe cases can lead to headache, disorientation, tremor, seizures, paralysis, brain damage, coma and death.
>> Online: MDHHS for mosquito-borne diseases
EEE is more lethal in horses with a mortality rate of 90% but has a vaccine for horses rather than humans.
MDHHS calls on people to take steps to deter disease-carrying mosquitoes before heading outside, including using DEET-containing repellents on their body and clothing, and to wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
Residents are also encouraged to discard any standing water in their yard and replace window and door screens with tears or holes through which a mosquito can pass.
In response to the outbreak of EEE, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has compiled a list of pesticide licensed mosquito services in Michigan, which you can find online .