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Aerial spraying for mosquitos to start this week after 20 new EEE cases found in horses

horses in a barn or stable
Engin Akyurt

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will be conducting aerial spraying to kill mosquitoes that spread the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus. The state has confirmed 22 cases of EEEin horses since July 31, all of which were fatal.

According to the MDHHS, this is double the number of cases in horses as compared to 2019. This years' cases were spread across ten counties.

In addition to the aerial spraying, the state is recommending that Michiganders stay indoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquitos are most active. If they are outdoors, they should wear long sleeves and pants, and apply insect repellant.

Sarah Lyon-Callo is an epidemiologist for the MDHHS. She says the MDHHS is also recommending that local officials in affected areas postpone, reschedule, or cancel outdoor events that occur at dusk, particularly if children are present..

"This recommendation has been made out of an abundance of caution to protect public health, and applies until the first hard frost of the year. This is even more important this year as Michiganders are spending more time outdoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic."

She says the aerial spraying will begin after 8 pm in the affected areas.

"Treatment will commence Wednesday, weather permitting, and last 3 to 5 days. The length of time will be weather dependent, and the treatment plan may also change if we find additional cases."

Mary Grace Stobierski is a public health veterinarian for the MDHHS. She says most of the cases are concentrated in west and mid-Michigan.

"There is a current area that’s actively producing virus in those counties, and is an area of high risk. These mosquitos are currently active; they’re adult mosquitos."

Aerial spraying will take place over roughly 290,000 acres, and will occur in the following counties: Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newago, and Oakland. 

The breakdown of cases in horses for each county is as follows:

  • Barry: 1
  • Clare: 5 
  • Ionia: 1 
  • Isabella: 1 
  • Jackson: 1
  • Kent: 1 
  • Mecosta: 1 
  • Montcalm: 7
  • Newago: 2
  • Oakland: 2

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Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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