Araweelo News Network
Just when you thought mosquitos couldn’t be more of a nuisance.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday that an adult man had likely contracted a rare and potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus.
Officials said outdoor night events in 10 counties should be postponed or canceled for the time being to prevent the spread of Eastern equine encephalitis, also known as EEE or Triple E, which is carried by infected mosquitoes.
Triple E has a 33% fatality rate among humans who become ill from infection and has been known to leave those infected with physical and mental disabilities. It also kills 90% of horses who become ill from the virus.
“MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly those involving children, to reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the department, said in a statement.
Typically the virus infects fewer than 10 people in the U.S. a year. However, 38 people contracted Triple E in 2019, including six in Michigan who died from complications of the virus.
Children under 15 and adults over 50 are at the greatest risk of developing a serious illness from Triple E infection, of which there is no cure.
Symptoms of Triple E infection include sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches that can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis, according to USA Today. Symptoms can lead to permanent brain damage and coma.
Health officials said they would begin spraying pesticides in the 10 counties where horses have been infected in an effort to reduce the risk of infection for humans. More areas of the state could be targeted for spraying if additional cases of Triple E arise in humans or horses.