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Covid-19 has reduced state tracking of mosquito-borne illness

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jeffrey.kohn
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Michigan health officials say the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the state’s ability to track mosquito-borne illnesses.

Just last year Michigan saw ten cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, six of which were fatal.

Now, state officials are urging residents to take precautions because early warning systems around mosquito-borne illnesses aren’t as nimble during the pandemic.

Lynn Sutfin is a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“It’s going to be a slower information trail. We have found some West Nile activity in our state and we do want people to take precautions.”

Sutfin said early warning system testing around animals and mosquito pools isn’t happening “as quickly.”

“At our state lab, we were going to be set up to start doing mosquitos. That’s not happening due to the fact of COVID. I know the DNR lab is not up and running currently which is where they would test wild animals, that’s also not happening due to COVID.”

A lab with Michigan State University is getting up and running.

Sutfin said the best thing residents can do is protect against mosquito bites.