Officials are warning Michigan residents to stay indoors after a rare – and deadly -virus appears in local mosquito populations.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting a likely infection of a deadly virus in Barry County. Commonly known as EEE, the mosquito-born virus – Eastern equine encephalitis – spreads with the insect species. Once the mosquitoes become infected with it, the spread can be rapid.
This will be the first reported case of the virus in Michigan this year. The news comes as quite a shock to Michigan residents, especially for a population dealing with high COVID-19 casualties.
Health officials are urging extreme caution to Michigan residents. They advise refraining from outdoor events around dusk to prevent more infections of the virus. Residents in 10 counties should take great caution whilst outdoors. Those areas include: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland.
What does this mosquito-born virus do?
According to the Center for Disease and Control:
- EEE spreads by infected mosquitos and can cause inflammation of the brain.
- Early symptoms include fever, chills, body and joint aches.
- Symptoms progress to headache disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis.
- One-third of those infected with EEE die.
- Survivors typically suffer from mild to severe brain damage.
- There is no treatment for the deadly virus.
What’s more – there is no vaccine – or treatment of any kind.
“Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and no effective antiviral drugs have been discovered… Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy. This may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids, and prevention of other infections.”CDC
Experts are advising extreme caution for all the reasons above. If this virus spreads – it could leave hundreds of Michigan residents with permanent brain damage. Or – at the worst – the state could be looking at a rising death toll.
Prevention is key
To prevent the spread of the virus, the CDC recommends taking precautions to deter mosquitoes. Additionally, use of effective mosquito repellents is key. Removing all sources of still water from your property also prevents mosquitoes from breeding. The agency, too, reports that at least 90% of cases can be avoided by taking these precautions.
The only surefire method of beating this disease, however, is for residents to stay indoors. If you must be outside, wear pants and long sleeves. Although there is no guaranteed way to deter mosquitoes, taking these steps will greatly reduce your risk.