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MDHHS: Barry County man suspected to be first human EEE case of 2020

Preliminary test results indicated the Barry County man has EEE, but MDHHS says further testing to confirm is expected to be completed by the end of the week.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

LANSING, Mich. — A Barry County man may be the first human case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Michigan this year, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). 

Preliminary test results indicated the patient has EEE, but MDHHS says further testing to confirm the diagnosis is expected to be completed by the end of the week. No other information was provided about the patient. 

This possible human case is in addition to 22 confirmed cases in horses from 10 counties, MDHHS said. Michiganders have been urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites following the suspected EEE case along with nine confirmed cases of West Nile Virus. 

RELATED: What is EEE? And how can you stay safe?

“This suspected EEE case in a Michigan resident shows this is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders and calls for continued actions to prevent exposure, including aerial treatment,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly those involving children to reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes.”

EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States. According to MDHHS, EEE has a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill. Last year, more than 25% of the nation’s EEE cases were diagnosed in Michigan.

RELATED: Aerial treatment planned for 10 counties to kill mosquitoes, prevent EEE

In an attempt to prevent EEE and protect public health, MDHHS has decided to implement aerial treatment. This is scheduled to start the evening of Sept. 16, weather permitting. Treatment is scheduled for the following counties: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland.

For more information about EEE, visit Michigan.gov/EEE.


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