A fourth person has died in Michigan from the outbreak of mosquito-borne disease in the state. The fourth human fatality related to Eastern equine encephalitis was reported on Wednesday October 2, to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said department spokesperon Lynn Sutfin.
Notably, according to centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), EEE virus is a rare cause of brain infections (encephalitis). Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year and most occur in eastern or Gulf Coast states. Approximately 30% of people with EEE die and many survivors have ongoing neurologic problems.
Michigan Live reported that the person killed was a resident of Battle Creek, according to the Calhoun County Public Health Department.
Till date there have been nine confirmed human cases in the state with the latest fatality being reported in Calhoun County.
Earlier fatalities due to the disease were reported in Kalamazoo, Van Buren and Cass counties. The nine human cases also include residents from Berrien and Barry counties, according to MDHHS.
The report further states that aerial spraying of pesticides to kill mosquitoes and combat the illness is scheduled to continue Wednesday in counties throughout Southwest Michigan, and potentially in other areas of the state.
According to the MDHHS, on Tuesday Oct. 1, about 86,016 acres were treated with aerial spraying, bringing the total acreage treated for mosquitoes as part of the statewide effort to 186,146.
Post cancellation of weekend spraying due to weather, spraying resumed on Monday night in four Southwest Michigan counties: Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Van Buren.
The areas slated for treatment Wednesday are identified in the state’s updated Aerial Treatment Zones Map, and include portions of Allegan, Van Buren, Calhoun and Barry counties, the report further stated.
Notably, Kalamazoo County has more cases of EEE — five equine, three human and two bovine — than any other Michigan county. Citizens of Kalamazoo County have expressed concern about the type of pesticide being used and the impact spraying could have on honeybees, butterflies and other insects that play a major role in the ecosystem.
In addition to the nine human cases of EEE, there have been 33 animal deaths related to EEE in Michigan. Of these, 18 have been equine, including horses and donkeys, two were wolves and 13 more were deer.