Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
A mosquito-borne illness, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), is on the rise in southwest Michigan with three confirmed cases in Kalamazoo and Berrien county. The spike in illnesses can be linked to weather conditions creating a friendly environment for these insects - leading to an increase in both mosquitoes and bites. "Mosquito borne illnesses are seasonal, including EEE and west Nile virus, and now is the season," says Richard VanEnk, Director of Infection Prevention & Epidemiology. "In Michigan this year, the lake levels are so high and the swamplands have been spreading. There is a lot of moisture, so this is a good year for those types of mosquitoes."
What are the symptoms of EEE?
Early symptoms of EEE include headaches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, muscle soreness and tiredness. Symptoms typically begin 4-10 days after exposure. If you know you have had mosquito bite exposure and are experiencing symptoms that persist longer than 1-2 weeks, contact your healthcare provider.
Mosquito bite prevention
"While EEE is rare, you should take preventative measures to avoid exposure when possible," says VanEnk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends the following prevention methods:
- Use insect repellent
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants - especially during dusk and dawn
- Install bug screens on windows and doors
- Get ride of standing water near your home
- Avoid going outside during dusk and dawn when possible