State: EEE found in Newaygo County horse

LANSING, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan officials say they have confirmed this year’s third case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in a horse, this time in Newaygo County.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development announced the third confirmed EEE case in a horse Thursday.

The first case, announced Aug. 11, was in a 2-year-old filly in Clare County. The second case, announced last week, was in a 12-year-old mare in Montcalm County.

EEE is a rare mosquito-borne illness and proves fatal in about a third of people who develop symptoms. That percentage is much higher in horses — 90% — but there is a vaccine for horses and not for people.

In people, symptoms include fever, chills and body aches. Severe cases can lead to headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures, paralysis, brain damage, coma and death. Last year, EEE infected a record 10 people in Michigan; six of them died, all in the southwestern region of the state.

Horse owners are advised to keep the animals in a barn with a fan during peak mosquito hours and cover them with a mosquito repellent.

To protect yourself from EEE, you should use an insect repellent that includes DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors and make sure your window screens are in good repair to keep out mosquitoes. You should also get rid of the standing water on your property where mosquitoes can spawn.

The threat of infection will remain until the weather turns and a hard freeze kills mosquitoes.