Aerial Spraying To Resume To Protect Michiganders From EEE: Health Dept.

aerial spraying
By WWJ Newsradio 950

(WWJ) Aircraft will once again take to the skies over Michigan o spray for mosquitoes in an effort to combat the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, better known as EEE.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said a second night of aerial treatment to protect Michiganders from EEE resulted in more than 226,000 total acres being completed to date.

Aerial treatment conducted on Thursday, Sept. 17, treated nearly 69,000 acres in Blocks 5-1, 6-2, 7-1 and 10-1, in Ionia County, Kent County and Montcalm County, Newaygo counties. Due to nighttime temperatures predicted to be below 50 degrees F over the weekend, officials put aerial treatment on pause.

Officials said the spraying would resume the night of Monday, Sept. 21.

This update comes after MDHHS confirmed last Friday that one human case has been confirmed in Barry County. The patient, whose name and hometown were not released. is being treated at a hospital in Grand Rapids.

“Treatment is being conducted to protect the health and safety of Michiganders in the affected areas,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “EEE is a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus affecting both people and animals and we need Michiganders to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

The mosquito that carries EEE does not fly at temperatures below 50 degrees F. However, Michiganders need to continue taking precautions as mosquitos are present and will remain active until there is a hard freeze, equivalent to the temperature dropping below 28 degrees F for an extended period of time. 

Meanwhile, officials said new horse case has been confirmed in Calhoun County, bringing the total to 29 cases of EEE in horses in 12 counties as of Sept. 17. Additionally, a deer in Allegan County has been diagnosed with EEE. Impacted counties are now Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Livingston, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland. 

The newly discovered EEE cases in horses have expanded or added treatment blocks to the overall plan in Calhoun, Ionia, Jackson, Kent, Livingston and Montcalm counties. More information is being collected on the Allegan County deer case and any changes to the treatment plan will be announced at a later date. The public can refer to the County-level Aerial Treatment Maps for more details of the identified zones’ locations. 

As there is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people, residents are urged to continue to protect themselves by:
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas. 

Residents are encouraged to visit Michigan.gov/EEE for the very latest information.