Baraga County horse dies from Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or ‘EEE’

Copper Country

BARAGA COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – Eastern Equine Encephalitis has been found in a Baraga County horse.

The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) was notified of a horse in Baraga County that had died from Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The horse became ill on September 20, 2020.

This is the first confirmed animal case of EEE in Baraga County this year. No other animal or human cases of EEE have been confirmed in Baraga County at this time, however 33 confirmed cases in horses in fourteen Michigan counties have been reported to date in 2020.

There is currently only one human case reported of EEE in the state of Michigan. In 2019,
Michigan saw infections in ten residents and 50 animals, including two grouse from Houghton
and Ontonagon Counties.

Because conditions are favorable for EEE-carrying mosquitoes at this time of year, people living or visiting in Michigan should take precautions against mosquito bites. EEE cannot be spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the
bite of an infected mosquito.

WUPHD says Most (95-96%) cases of human EEE do not cause any symptoms, and less than 1% develop serious illness. However, EEE is potentially serious and symptoms include fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pain. More severe illness can cause swelling of the brain and surrounding tissues.

Anyone can be affected by EEE, but persons over age 60 and under age 15 are at greatest
risk for developing severe disease. If you plan to spend time outdoors, WUPHD encourages
residents to continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by:

• Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes that carry the EEE virus
are most active.
• Applying insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and
always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
• Wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to
clothing to help prevent bites.
• Maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
• Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused
kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
• Using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

More information about EEE can be found at the Michigan Department of Health and
Human Services website: https://bit.ly/3lGQC3k . MDHHS hotline for general EEE questions:
888-535-6136. You can also visit the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention Eastern Equine
Encephalitis webpage at www.cdc.gov/easternequineencephalitis/index.html.

Additionally, domestic horses can be vaccinated for EEE through your veterinarian. If
you see an animal that is exhibiting strange behavior or appears sick, avoid handling or
consuming the animal and visit https://secure1.state.mi.us/ORS/Home to report your observation.

For questions regarding sick domestic animals such as horses, livestock, or pets, contact your
local veterinarian or the Michigan Department of Agriculture at 517-373-1077.

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