Public health officials have advised residents in eight counties not to be out in the evenings after three people died of mosquito-borne illness in Michigan, amidst what officials have called "the worst outbreak in more than a decade " describe.
The extent to which this council could impact planned events in these communities is less clear, and local school districts and other institutions are still debating whether they will seek advice to stop or postpone evening outdoor activities Tuesday, September 17, warned the public of outdoor activities at dusk and urged local leaders in eight counties to postpone all outdoor events for the risk of Eastern equine encephalitis. The eight counties involved in the advisory are: Barry, Berrien, Cass, Genesee, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, St. Joseph, and Van Buren] In recent cases, there have been seven cases, three of which were fatal, according to MDHHS.
"We take this as a public health threat really seriously," said Bob Wheaton, Information Officer at MDHHS, in an interview with MLive on Wednesday, September 1
The number of confirmed cases of Eastern equine encephalitis in humans so far this year is "relatively uncommon," Wheaton said. The last time the state had a "significant number" of cases was in 2002, when six cases of WEEE were reported to humans.
Wheaton said he did not know when the state last issued a similar notice to local residents to avoid evening events and community leaders who are considering canceling or postponing events.
"It's very unusual," said Wheaton. "It shows the seriousness of the situation."
The region has experienced the "worst outbreak (EEE)" in more than a decade, government officials said on Tuesday's release.
A total of seven cases of human disease have been confirmed in the counties of Barry, Cass, Van Buren, Berrien and Kalamazoo. Three deaths caused by the disease were confirmed in the districts of Kalamazoo, Cass and Van Buren.
The state advisory council also included the districts of Genesee, Lapeer and St. Joseph, as the virus in these areas was confirmed in deer or horses.
Kalamazoo County Health Officer Jim Rutherford said in an interview with MLive Wednesday that the county has informed school leaders in the area to postpone their evening activities or, if this is not possible, instruct them to wear long clothes and insect repellents.
Susan Coney, director of communications at the Kalamazoo Public Schools, said Coney, the school district is currently investigating the state and "talking about planned outdoor events." The district will publish more information late Wednesday evening.
Rutherford acknowledged that people may not want to stay indoors, as fall is the "most beautiful time in Michigan".
The disease has a "significantly high" death rate, he said, but there are protectors may take to avoid the virus.
"It certainly matters when people get sick with mosquitoes," Rutherford said. "The good news is that it's avoidable."
"Repellent. Repellent. Repellent, "he said.
Rutherford emphasized other protective measures that people can take to prevent exposure, including the leakage of stagnant water from items such as play equipment that can attract mosquitoes.
Health authorities advise people to use DEET insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants and make sure windows and screens are secure and stagnant water from places like flowers is empty pots, buckets, barrels and hoops.
The Van Buren / Cass District Health Department issued the state warning on its own website and called for the postponement or cancellation of evening events, especially events with children.
Berrien County Health Department In a press release released Wednesday, "it is not recommended that community groups cancel outdoor events such as sporting events." Health authorities have suggested relocating the events indoors, if practicable, and that outdoor people are taking steps to use insect repellents and wear long-sleeved clothing.
The Barry-Eaton County Department of Health released a press release Wednesday reminding residents that they are human cases are "rare," an average of seven a year in the US, the presence of the virus in the region is "worrying" and residents should take precautions to avoid mosquitoes.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, between 2009 and 2019, the US contributed an average of seven cases of WEEE to prevention. Nationwide, the number of cases ranged from three in 2009 to 15 in 2012. The states with the highest number of cases were, according to the CDC Florida and Massachusetts.
Barry-Eaton health officials also advised local jurisdictions and schools Postpone evening events or encourage bystanders to protect themselves with clothing and insect repellent.
Jeff Chamberlain, deputy city councilor of Kalamazoo, said the city government has no plans to cancel events, but recommends that residents follow the orders of state officials and insects are repugnant. Most events in Kalamazoo would be organized by private organizations.
According to MDHHS, only 4 to 5% of people would get sick if they became infected with the virus. The infected people usually show no symptoms. Those who do, however, develop chills, fever, weakness, muscle and joint pain.
Less than 1% of those infected develop MDHHS, a serious neurological disorder that causes inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissue. About 30% of people who develop neurological infection due to equine encephalitis die according to MDHHS.
In addition to human cases, nine fatal cases of EEE in horses had been confirmed in Barry until 16 September. Kalamazoo, Lapeer and St. Joseph counties. Also five deer in the provinces of Barry, Cass, Genesee, Kalamazoo and Van Buren were euthanized due to the severity of their disease symptoms.
People working outdoors and recovering in areas where they live It has been found that the virus has an increased risk of infection. Those over 50 and under 15 appear to have the greatest risk of developing a serious illness, according to CDC.
Most cases of electrical and electronic equipment are reported from Florida, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina. According to the CDC, viral transmission in and around freshwater hardwood swamps is the most prevalent in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast States and the Great Lakes region.