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If you go outside on this Labor Day weekend, do not forget the insect repellent.

The dangerous, but rare, virus of Eastern equine encephalitis burns in Michigan, health officials confirm Two people in the districts of Berrien and Kalamazoo are suspected of having another five people.

The virus, which is transmitted by birds and transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, is fatal in 1 in 3 people and can lead to brain damage and chronic neurological disability in survivors.

The first step in preventing mosquito-borne illness is wearing insect repellents containing DEET outdoors, health officials say. (Photo: FILE PHOTO)

"Michiganders can best protect themselves by following these steps" to avoid mosquito bites, said Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health:

  • Apply insect repellent, Contain the active substance DEET or another product approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency on the exposed skin or clothing and always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to avoid stinging.
  • Make sure the windows and doors are protected from mosquitoes.
  • Empty the water of mosquito hatcheries in the household, where mosquitoes can lay eggs.
  • Use nets and / or trays over outdoor dining areas.

All seven Michigan people suspected of having electrical and electronic equipment are hospitalized, said Sutfin, aged between 14 and 68.

Among them is 14-year-old Savanah Dehart, who was admitted to the Bronson Children's Hospital in Kalamazoo on 17 August and is in grave condition.

More: Mother from Michigan says the 14-year-old daughter has the rare virus of Eastern equine encephalitis.

Savanah Dehart is pictured. She was diagnosed with Eastern equine encephalitis, a rare mosquito-borne virus. (Photo: Kerri Dooley)

"Electrical and electronic equipment generally flares up every 10 years," said Sutfin. "There is no definitive cause, although it is believed that the weather plays a role."

In an average year, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are only seven cases of waste electrical and electronic equipment. However, this year only so many cases are investigated in Michigan.

The virus is found mainly in the eastern United States and the Great Lakes region. According to CDC, infections occur near freshwater hardwood swamps.

Massachusetts tries to prevent EEE

Michigan is not the only state to report EEE infections this summer.

In Massachusetts, where a woman died of EEE, virus infection was confirmed in four persons.

Massachusetts health authorities have mapped risk areas, launched mosquito repellent programs, and recommended stopping outdoor activities between dusk and dawn to reduce the risk of sting when mosquitoes are most active. mass.gov .

No such action has been taken here in Michigan.

"Mosquito control and monitoring are decided and funded locally," said Sutfin of the MDHHS, which means that individual districts or communities would have to opt to pay for a mosquito spray program or the use of mosquito larvicides.

Only four counties in Michigan – all in the Saginaw Bay region – have comprehensive programs to monitor and control mosquitoes, Sutfin said.

Berrien and Kalamazoo counties, in which the outbreak of electrical and electronic equipment is concentrated in Michigan, have no such programs.

Gillian Conrad, communication manager of the Department of Health of Berrien County, said the county monitors mosquitoes. But it's all about investigating which types of mosquitoes are most common.

"We do not test every mosquito to see if it's the carrier of the virus," Conrad said. "We are looking for specific species, knowing that when certain species circulate in our region, we can make sound guesses about which diseases these mosquitoes might have."

The black-tailed mosquito is the main carrier of electrical and electronic equipment. (Photo: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY C. ROXANNE CONNELLY, UF.)

There are currently no plans to start spraying mosquitoes or using larvicides to prevent their breeding in Berrien County, Conrad said. At dawn and dawn, when the mosquitoes are most active, no outdoor events have been canceled.

"It sounds like a pretty tough effort going through Massachusetts," she said. "I am confident that we will see all available options in Michigan in the coming days and weeks.

" Right now, it's about informing and educating the public about what WEEE is. I tell you, nine out of ten people do not know about it. … In our area, where agriculture is big and there are many people who keep horses and spend time with horses, we want to make sure that people understand that you do not get it from a horse. It is spread by mosquitoes.

She said the health department had conducted media interviews and posted information about electrical and electronic equipment on its website and on social media platforms.

"Here we are on the last real summer weekend before school starts" We do not want anyone feeling that he has to stay inside because of a very rare disease that is so common in the mosquito population. "

Instead, the focus is on informing the public about the precautions that can be taken to prevent bites.

"I think local health authorities will certainly continue to engage in discussions with our state health department in the coming days and weeks, if there is still a tendency for cases. This will surface in humans and discuss all options that can be used to protect people public health on the table, "Conrad said.

"I speak of a local health office perspective, and as you can understand, our resources are always limited, and if there is talk about mosquito control, it would be our state health authorities."

Jim Rutherford, Kalamazoo County Health Commissioner, did not answer questions from the Free Press about whether he did anything to combat mosquitoes or whether the county is considering suspending events that take place when the mosquitoes are most active, as Massachusetts did, from dusk to dawn.

Instead, he sent a statement by e-mail Friday afternoon demanding the same mosquito bite. Prevention tips recommended by the MDHHS.

Symptoms of Electrical and Electronic Equipment What to Look for

Symptoms of Electrical and Electronic Equipment According to the CDC, EEE usually occur either systemically or encephalitically four to ten days after the bite of an infected mosquito which results in the swelling of the brain. Some people with EEE have no symptoms at all.

Symptoms can be sudden in those who develop a systemic infection and l Up to two weeks. These include:

  • chills
  • fever
  • malaise
  • joint and muscle pains

In people who suffer from encephalitis, the following symptoms typically occur after several days of systemic disease:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Irritability and restlessness
  • Drowsiness, disorientation
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cyanosis, which is a bluish discoloration of the skin due to inadequate oxygen circulation or discoloration of the skin [19659010] Spasms
  • Coma

Even animals can get sick with electrical and electronic equipment. So far, the state has confirmed seven cases in horses – two in Barry County, three in Kalamazoo County and two in St. Joseph County – and two white-tailed deer in the counties of Barry and Cass. The virus is 90% fatal in horses, although there is a vaccine to protect horses that is not available to humans.

Other mosquito-borne diseases

According to Sutfin, MDHHS has confirmed a case of another mosquito-borne form of encephalitis – the California Encephalitis virus Genesee County, which investigates a suspected case of West Nile virus in a person from Wayne County.

Like EEE, the West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

So far, this year, 20 mosquito pools in Michigan have been tested for West Nile virus in the following counties: Oakland, Saginaw, Wayne (including the city of Detroit), Bay and Midland, Sutfin said. In addition, eight birds infected with the West Nile virus were found in the following counties: Kalamazoo, Bay, Gladwin, Otsego, Saginaw, Midland and Wayne.

Contact Kristen Jordan Shamus: 313-222-5997 or kshamus @ freepress .com. Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.

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