Three more horses in Jackson County have tested positive for the Eastern equine encephalitis virus, bringing the total to five cases in the county.
The state of Michigan sprayed pesticides on Saturday night, Oct. 5, in Concord and Grass Lake townships to kill mosquitoes potentially carrying EEE. The state has sprayed more than 557,000 acres for EEE, primarily in southwest Michigan.
None of these three horses testing positive were from the spray zones, Jackson County Health Officer Rashmi Travis said.
The horses contracted EEE prior to the spraying, a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services press release states. So far, four horses and one deer have tested positive for EEE in Jackson County – but no humans.
There have been 10 human cases across the state since the outbreak, including four deaths, per the MDHHS. There have been 39 animal cases.
“In one year, we have had more human EEE cases confirmed than in the past decade,” said MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun. “We chose to conduct aerial treatment to protect the health and safety of Michiganders.”
MDHHS officials don’t plan to spray again, since temperatures are projected to drop under 50 degrees at night – which is when aerial spraying becomes less effective because mosquitoes become inactive.
Khaldun, however, urges Michigan residents to continue taking precautions – like staying inside after dark or using bug spray – until a hard frost can kill the mosquito population.
EEE is a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. Some cases can result in seizures, paralysis, permanent brain damage, comas and death, per the JCHD. Seek medical attention immediately if any signs develop. EEE has a 33 percent fatality rate among people who become ill from it, per the MDHHS.