Health Department alerts public to Eastern Equine Encephalitis threat

   The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department warned all county school districts this week of several confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in surrounding counties.
   According to a health alert sent to the superintendents, the EEE virus has infected two Michigan residents - one in Kalamazoo and one in Berrien counties, as well as seven horses (three Kalamazoo, two St. Joseph, and two Barry), and two deer (Cass and Barry). The Van Buren/Cass District Health Department received notification from the Department of Natural Re-sources that a deer in Cass County also tested positive for EEE in August.
   In the notice, the District Health Department, along with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, is urging residents to stay healthy by following steps to avoid mosquito bites:
   • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
   • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
   • Maintain window and door screenings to help keep mosquitoes outside.
   • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
   • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
   According to MDHHS, people can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. The disease is not spread from animals to humans. Signs and symptoms of EEE include sudden onset of fever, chills, and body and joint aches. EEE infection can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases, per the press release from MDHHS, August 26, 2019.
   Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms should seek prompt medical attention.

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The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
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