Doubtlessly deadly mosquito-borne illness in Jackson County horses

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JACKSON COUNTY, MI – A Jackson County horse tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).

The disease can affect humans as well, although no human cases were found in Michigan this year, according to the Jackson County Health Department.

The horse that lives between Grass Lake and Michigan Center is the 19th EEE positive horse in Michigan this year. Most of the other falls are in the middle of Michigan between Grand Rapids and Clare.

Mosquitoes are responsible for spreading electrical and electronic equipment through bites, and people need to be careful until the first hard frost of the season kills mosquitoes.

“At this time, and with great caution, JCHD recommends that everyone restrict their events and outdoor activities that take place at dusk to dawn and take other precautions, such as the use of repellent sprays and long-sleeved shirts and pants,” health officer Rashmi Travis said in a statement.

The mosquito species that carry electrical and electronic equipment are most active between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

The disease is rare but fatal, officials said. Around 33 percent of EEE cases in sick people are fatal and around 90 percent of cases in horses are fatal.

People under the age of 15 and over 50 have the highest risk of getting an infection after being bitten. Anyone who falls into these categories should take extra precautions against bites.

Symptoms begin with a sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint pain, which can develop into severe encephalitis, leading to headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures, and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma, and death can also occur.

Horse owners should consider vaccinating their animals against electrical and electronic equipment and call their veterinarian as soon as a horse shows signs of illness.

The cattle should also be in barns among fans overnight, officials said. An insect repellant should be used and standing water should be removed as much as possible.

The electrical and electronic equipment outbreak in 2019 caused the state of Michigan to spray pesticides in Jackson County and across the state.

According to official figures, there were more cases of electrical and electronic equipment in 2019 than in the previous decade.

Jackson County had five horses with electrical and electronic equipment in early October 2019 as the infection season came to an end.

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