Out of an abundance of caution, health officials are recommending that evening outdoor activities be cancelled, postponed or rescheduled in the areas affected by the outbreak in order to prevent mosquito bites. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued an update Tuesday on eastern equine encephalitis, saying there were deaths in Cass and Van Buren counties. The CDC says 30% of cases of "EEE" are deadly in humans.
In a typical year, there are just five to 10 cases in the entire US.
EEE is a rare virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Signs include sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting.
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Officials in Rhode Island have confirmed three human cases of EEE this season. The state has seen a similar case in seven other patients this year in 2019, including three deaths, told the official.
Since the man works in a number of communities in Essex County, including Boxford, Ipswich, Essex, Gloucester, Manchester and Topsfield, it's not known where he contracted the mosquito-born virus, according to the Manchester public health department.
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The sphagnum bogs found in southern MI are also a favorite for mosquitoes that spread EEE. "The interesting thing about this year is that we still have good numbers of them persisting into mid-September".
Mark Fischer, an expert at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the AP it was unclear why EEE cases were high this year but that the numbers typically increase once every several years.
He says it's one more reason for people to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
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The outbreak is so concerning in MI residents there are being told to stay indoors. That means using an EPA-approved mosquito repellent, wearing long sleeves and trousers in wooded, swampy areas, and getting rid of standing water in flower pots, bird baths and anything else in your yard that holds water.