Barry County

Health dept.: EEE present in Barry County mosquitoes



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Mosquitoes from Barry County have tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis, also known as EEE, health officials say.

The mosquitoes were collected June 30, according to a Thursday release from the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

“We had a horse last year that passed away from EEE and so we really are concerned this year that it could happen again,” said Emily Smale, communications specialist with the health department.

EEE is a mosquito-borne disease with a 33% fatality rate in humans, the department said. It is most dangerous for people under 15 or above 50. Symptoms include sudden fever, chills and body aches and brain inflammation that can lead to headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis, according to the health department.

“And it only takes one mosquito bite to get EEE from a mosquito that has it,” Smale said.

People can protect themselves by using insect repellent, wearing long shirts and pants while outside, using window and door screens and emptying water that could serve as a breeding site for mosquitoes, the Barry-Eaton District Health Department said.

For horses, EEE’s fatality rate is 90%, the department said. Owners can protect horses by vaccinating them against EEE, putting them in a barn under fans from dusk to dawn and using horse-safe insect repellent.

On July 5, the state veterinarian announced mosquitoes in Bay County — located on the east side of the state — had tested positive for EEE.

In 2022, three horses died of EEE in Michigan, but there were no human cases, according to the Barry-Eaton District Health Department.

— News 8’s Demetrios Sanders contributed to this report.

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