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Michigan advises against outdoor activity because of a deadly mosquito-borne virus



State health officials advise residents of eight counties to avoid being outdoors in the evening after three people die from a mosquito-borne illness in Michigan amid what officials call the "worst outbreak" "For more than a decade.

How this council can influence the events planned in these communities is less clear as local school districts and other institutions are still considering whether to adopt a council to cancel or postpone evening outdoor activities.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, in a news release sent on Tuesday, September 1

7, warned the community to avoid outdoor activities in the evening and encouraged local leaders in eight counties to postpone any outdoor events because of the risk of eastern encephalitis. on the horses. The eight counties included in the Advisory Board are: Barry, Berrien, Cas, Geneseo, Kalamazoo, Lapper, St. Joseph and Van Buren.

"We take this really seriously as a threat to public health," Bob Wheaton, public information officer with MDHHS, said in an interview with MLive Wednesday, September 18th.

The number of human cases of eastern equine encephalitis confirmed so far is "relatively rare," Whitton said. The last time the state had a "significant" number of cases was in 2002, when six EEE cases with humans were reported.

Wheaton said he did not know for the last time that the state would issue such advice to residents to avoid evening activities and for community leaders to consider canceling or postponing events.

"It's very rare," Wheaton said. "This shows the gravity of the situation."

The region has been experiencing the "worst (EEE) epidemic" for more than a decade, state officials said on Tuesday.

A total of seven human cases have been confirmed in the counties of Barry, Cas, Van Buren, Berrien and Kalamazoo. Three deaths due to illness were confirmed in Kalamazoo, Cas and Van Buren.

The state council also includes Genesee, Lapeer and St. Louis counties. Joseph because the virus has been confirmed in deer or horses in these areas.

Kalamazoo County Health Officer Jim Rutherford said in an interview with MLive Wednesday that the district had notified district school principals to postpone evening activities or, if not possible, to advise attendees to wear long clothes and wear rags. against insects.

Susan Cowney, director of communications at Kalamazoo Public Schools, said the school district is currently reviewing state councils and is "discussing planned outdoor events." Connie said the district will release more information

Rutherford acknowledged that people may not want to stay indoors because the fall is "Michigan's most beautiful time."

The disease has a "significantly high" percentage of mortality, he said, but there are protectors can take away the virus.

"It certainly applies when people get mosquitoes," Rutherford says. "The good news is that it's preventable.

"Repulsive. Repellent. Repulsive, "he said.

Rutherford emphasized other protections that people can take to avoid exposure, including draining standing water from objects such as playground facilities that can attract mosquitoes.

" Take action , to minimize mosquito exposure, to minimize your chance of getting infected with mosquito-borne disease, "says Rutherford.

Public health officials advise people to use insect repellent with DEET, to carry long sleeves and pants, be it making sure windows and screens are secure and emptying any standing water from places such as flower pots, pails, barrels and tires.

The Van Buren / Cass District Health Department publishes a state warning on its website, encouraging deferral or cancellation

The Berrien County Health Department, in a news release published Wednesday, "does not recommend community groups cancel outdoor outdoor events such as sports events." the local services applicants of Health suggested events to be moved indoors if practicable, and that people take steps like using remedies against insects and wear long clothing when outdoors.

The Barry-Eaton County Department also issued a news release on Wednesday, reminding residents that although people are rare, with an average of seven per year in the U.S., the region's presence of the virus is "alarming" and residents they need to take precautions to avoid mosquitoes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2009 and 2019, the United States averaged seven EEE cases. Nationally, the number of cases ranged from three in 2009 to 15 in 2012. According to the CDC, the states with the highest number of cases are Florida and Massachusetts.

Barry-Eaton health officials also advise local jurisdictions and schools to delay evening events or encourage passersby to protect themselves with clothing and repulsive bugs.

Kalamazoo Deputy Manager Jeff Chamberlain said the city government did not plan to cancel any events, but suggested residents follow the advice of government officials and carry insect repellents.

Only 4-5% of people will become ill when infected with the virus, according to information provided by MDHHS. The infected usually do not show symptoms; However, those who do will develop chills, fever, weakness, muscle and joint pain.

Less than 1% of infected people will develop a serious neurological disorder that causes inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues, according to MDHHS. About 30% of people who develop neurological infection due to Eastern equine encephalitis will die, according to MDHHS.

In addition to human cases, as of September 16, nine EEE deaths in horses, Kalamazoo, Lapeer and St. Joseph County were confirmed in Barry. Also, five deer in the counties of Barry, Cas, Geneseo, Kalamazoo and Van Buren have been confirmed with EEE infection and have been euthanized due to the severity of their disease symptoms.

People engaged in outdoor activities and recreational activities in areas where the virus has been found to be at increased risk of infection. Those over 50 and under 15 appear to be at highest risk of developing a serious illness, according to the CDC.

Most EEE cases have been reported in Florida, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. The transmission of the virus is most common in and around freshwater hardwood swamps in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast and in the Great Lakes region, the CDC said.


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