Earlier this month, a white-tailed deer with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was identified and euthanized in Barry County, the second deer found in the state in 2018. The Barry Eaton District Health Department said the disease is not easily spread between animals or between animals and humans, but humans can get EEE through the bite of an infected mosquito.
Most, 95 to 96 percent of cases of human EEE, do not cause any symptoms, and less than one percent develop serious illness. However, it is potentially serious and symptoms include fever, weakness, and muscle and joint pain. Anyone who experiences the symptoms should seek medical attention and contact a healthcare provider.
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.
Those who spend time outdoors can protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing long pants and sleeves and using DEET repellent. Remove buckets or other items outside your home that can hold standing water where mosquitoes breed. Inspect window screens and repair any holes to keep mosquitoes out of the home. Mosquitoes can survive until there is more consistent frost.
The first infected deer was found in Cass County in September; there has been one human case of EEE in Michigan in 2018, in Allegan County.
For more information, visit https://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases. Also, domestic horses can be vaccinated by a veterinarian. Anyone who sees a deer exhibiting strange behavior or appears to be sick should avoid handling or consuming the animal and visit https://secure1.state.mi.us/ORS/Home to report the observation.
For questions on sick domestic animals such as horses, livestock, or pets, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture at 517-373-1077.