The Livingston County Health Department provided notice on Sept. 29 that one case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in Livingston County, and has recommended that members of the community act to reduce their risk of contracting EEE. Although EEE is very rare, a press release issued by the superintendents in Livingston County indicated that they are working with the Health Department to reduce the risk of EEE exposure.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis, commonly known as the EEE virus, is a rare virus in Michigan carried by mosquitoes. Livingston County school officials are taking into account the dangers of this upcoming virus by putting the right procedures into place. The virus can affect anyone, but children under the age of 15 and people that are over the age of 60 are at risk of a more severe form of EEE.
On Sept. 21 and 22, Brighton Area Schools hired a pest control company called Mosquito Joe to spray all Brighton Area Schools. Many students, however, still do not know much about the situation.
“I haven’t heard much about this virus,” said Senior Scott Pulter. “But mosquitoes don’t bother me because I believe bug spray works and I use it quite often.”
BHS staff members have expressed some concern about EEE. School nurse, Linda Barrett, said that the fact that symptoms go unnoticed is what concerns her the most about the EEE virus.
Tiredness, nausea, neck stiffness, and high fever are the most common symptoms of the virus but only 4-5% of those with EEE will show symptoms and even be aware that they have the virus.
Although it is common thinking that since the disease does not have visible symptoms, that a person does not have it but with that being said everyone is at equal risk of contracting the disease.
No human cases have been reported yet in the county. The main thing to prevent the chance of EEE is using bug spray containing DEET. This chemical repels the mosquitos as they land on the skin by messing with neurons and receptors on their antennas. With EEE having a 33% fatality rate in people who become ill, health officials say this is one of the most dangerous mosquito borne illnesses in the United States.