Rare, Mosquito-Born Illness Officially Detected in Michigan
The most annoying part of summer is the abundance of bugs, in my opinion.
While they are annoying, pests like ticks and mosquitos actually carry diseases that can put humans and animals alike at risk.
With ticks, the most common threat is Lyme Disease which can cause fatigue, headache, fever, and a rash. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Mosquitos carry their fair share of diseases including something called Eastern Equine Encephalitis which, unfortunately, was just detected in the state of Michigan.
What is Eastern Equine Encephalitis?
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE, is a virus spread by an infected mosquito. Most people, if infected, do not develop symptoms. However, if you do develop symptoms, they'll show up 4-10 days after the initial bite.
Symptoms can include fever, chills, body aches, and joint pain. The symptoms can last 1-2 weeks and most people experience a complete recovery.
But, if the virus attacks the nervous system, things get more serious.
Neurological disease symptoms include:
- behavioral changes
See a full list of symptoms from the CDC here.
Here's the Good News
In the United States, there are only a few cases of EEE reported yearly. So, it's relatively rare.
That doesn't mean you should dismiss it, though. The CDC says,
Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems
And, there are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat the illness.
How Do I Protect Myself?
The CDC recommends using insect repellent and dressing in long sleeves and pants especially when you're traveling to a coastal area or an area where the mosquito population might be more dense.
Similarly, if you have horses, they also need protection. Since this is an Equine Encephalitis, the fatality rate for horses is much higher. Experts recommend putting livestock in a barn under fans during peak mosquito hours, eliminating standing water, and using an approved insect repellent for the species of animal.
Want to make your own insect repellent? Check out this video below. Keep in mind, this is a DIY so, there's no guarantee or federally backed research:
What About the EEE Detected in Michigan?
Bay County Mosquito Control regularly monitors and samples mosquito larvae from known breeding sites to test for known viruses and diseases. Read more about their process here.
You can learn more about mosquito testing on the state level at michigan.gov.
And, while you're looking out for mosquitos, make sure you're also looking for ticks. Those things are nasty: