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Michigan health officials are imploring residents in 10 counties to cancel or postpone outdoor events, and stay indoors after dusk in wake of the discovery that someone is suspected of having the rare, deadly mosquito-borne virus known as Eastern equine encephalitis, or EEE, USA Today reports.
“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 at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said.
EEE is considered one of the more deadly mosquito-borne diseases with a fatality rate of 33 percent among those who become ill from a bite from an infected mosquito. Many individuals who make it out the other end can still develop physical or severe mental disabilities.
Across those same counties in Michigan, 22 horses have been confirmed to have EEE this year. In 2019, 38 people in the United States became infected, with six deaths and four hospitalizations coming from Michigan alone. There are typically only seven cases nationwide every year.
People who become infected with EEE typically show signs, such as sudden fever, chills, body and joint aches. These symptoms can worsen to a severe encephalitis, which includes headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. The age groups with the greatest risk to develop a serious illness from the disease are either under 15 or over 50. There is no vaccine or treatment for EEE.