By Bria Brown

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) – In an effort to prevent spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has announced plans to conduct aerial mosquito control treatment in certain high-risk areas of Michigan.

Treatment is scheduled to occur starting the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 16. However, treatment can only take place under certain weather conditions, so the schedule may need to change.

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. People can be infected with EEE from one bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection. More than 25 percent of the nation’s EEE cases last year were diagnosed in Michigan.

Signs of EEE infection include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.

Aerial treatment is conducted by specialized aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until the following dawn. State-certified mosquito control professionals will apply an approved pesticide as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes on contact. This is a method many other states have also used to combat EEE. Aerial treatment is provided by Clarke from St. Charles, Ill., which provides mosquito control to protect public health. Clarke pioneers, develops and delivers environmentally responsible products and services to help prevent vector-borne disease, control nuisance and create healthy water bodies.

Treatment is scheduled for the 10 impacted counties: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland. Additional areas may be selected for treatment if new human or animal cases occur outside of the currently identified zones.

Residents are encouraged to visit Michigan.gov/EEE for up-to-date information.

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