State confirms fourth death due to Triple E
The state of Michigan has reported the fourth death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or Triple E.
Officials with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services say Triple E kills roughly one in three of the people it infects. Survivors are likely to suffer from moderate to severe brain damage.
Lynn Sutfin is a spokesperson for the Department. She said this fourth death is one of the original nine people infected in the state.
“They had been infected for a couple weeks and then succumbed to the illness,” she said.
33 animals across 15 countries have been killed due to the virus.
Michael Kaufman, an entomologist at Michigan State University, said the cool weather is likely to deter mosquitoes spreading further across the state.
“The mosquitoes themselves don’t really travel that far from breeding sites,” he said.
Kaufman added that Triple E infection can sometimes travel through birds, but the birds need to travel to areas suited to get the disease going.
The state has conducted aerial spraying over 186,000 acres in order to kill mosquitos that may carry the disease.
The state could potentially spray another 300,000 acres, including in Montcalm, Lapeer, and Newaygo counties. But Sutfin said the spraying is weather dependent and not all of the spraying has been scheduled.
You can view updates about the spraying here.
Sutfin said residents should do what they can to protect themselves.
“The simple thing to do to prevent getting Triple E is to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” she said. “That’s using insect repellant, making sure all of your screens are in good repair so the insects, mosquitoes and all of the other insects, stay outside of your home.”
Sutfin said residents do not need to worry about coming into contact with the spray.