The deadly Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus has shown up in 10 Michigan counties, infecting 22 horses and possibly 1 human, so far this year.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed the cases yesterday and announced that the on possible human transmission of the virus was in Barry County.  22 Horses have tested positive for the EEE virus across the following counties: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland.

According to an article by USA Today, the virus has a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill and a 90% fatality rate in horses.  Last year was the worst year since the CDC started tracking Eastern Equine Encephalitis with 38 total EEE infections in the United States.  Michigan also recorded its worst year in 2019 with 10 total infections and 6 deaths.  And according to the Detroit Free Press, "Three of the four people who survived EEE infections in the state "have severe neurologic issues"

The MDHHS is also urging people in those counties to cancel or postpone outdoor events that take place at or after dusk to prevent more people from contracting the virus, which is spread through the bite of infected mosquitoes.

“As animal cases continue to grow, the risks to people increase as well,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “People get EEE the same way horses do – from the bite of an infected mosquito – so a case in a horse means people in that area are also at risk. Limiting exposure at outdoor activities, especially near dusk when mosquitoes are most active, is the best way to keep you and your family safe from this deadly disease.” - Michigan Department of Health and Human Services EEE Press Release

Beginning tonight, the Department of Health and Human Services will conduct aerial treatment in the counties where the EEE virus has been seen.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis Infections As Of 9-16-2020

  • Barry County - 1 Human Infection Suspected - 1 Horse Infected
  • Clare County - 5 Horses Infected
  • Ionia County - 1 Horse Infected
  • Isabella County - 1 Horse Infected
  • Jackson County - 1 Horse Infected
  • Kent County - 1 Horse Infected
  • Mecosta County - 1 Horse Infected
  • Montcalm - 7 Horses Infected
  • Newaygo - 2 Horses Infected
  • Oakland - 2 Horses Infected

You can keep an eye on the EEE epidemic on the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service's website.