The Ionia County Health Department is strongly advising Ionia County residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites as a horse infected with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been found in Ionia County.
Michigan is currently experiencing in increase in animal cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis. EEE is a rare, deadly virus carried by mosquitoes that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Persons under age 15 and over 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection and should take extra measures to ensure that they are not bitten by mosquitoes.
EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill and a 90 percent fatality rate in horses that become ill. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, and body and joint aches. EEE 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. If you develop any of these signs seek medical attention immediately.
The two mosquito species that carry EEE are most active from dusk until dawn (7:00 pm to 7:00 am). When possible, residents should avoid outdoor activities during this time.