Aerial spraying to combat Eastern Equine Encephalitis will begin in Calhoun County after a horse tested positive for the deadly virus.

The Calhoun County Public Health Department confirmed late last night that a horse in Marshall had tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). This is the first confirmed case for the deadly mosquito-borne virus for Calhoun County this year. With the announcement came the recommendation for schools within the county to move the start time of scheduled football games to earlier in the evening. The news comes just days after it was announced that a Barry County resident was believed to have the virus.

Aerial spraying for Calhoun County is expected to begin on Monday due to low temperatures forecasted at night through the weekend. Mosquitos that carry EEE do not fly at temperatures below 50 degrees F, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. You can view a map to see the area that will be treated in Calhoun County by clicking here.

EEE is a rare, but serious disease that is caused by a virus spread by infected mosquitoes. The EEE virus can cause inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). It is one of the most severe mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one-third of the human cases of EEE are fatal. In the United States, approximately 5 to 10 EEE cases in humans are reported annually, however, in 2019 there were 38 cases reported.

How to prevent contracting EEE:

  • Use EPA-registered insect repellents like DEET.
  • Wear clothing that limits bare skin exposure like pants and shirts with long sleeves.
  • Avoid outdoor activity during peek times for mosquito activity.

You can get more information on how to avoid EEE exposure from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention by clicking here. 

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