10-03-2019 Health Departments inform about mosquito spread EEE virus; 128,000 acres sprayed, includ

MCFARLAND USA” RUNNERS VISIT HARTFORD… Hartford High School Cross Country runners were privileged to be visited by Thomas Valles and Johnny Samaniego on a promotional tour of Michigan for the Walt Disney Studios film starring Kevin Costner, “McFarland USA”. The film is the story of a predominantly Latino high school in California’s Central Valley and its running team’s incredible work ethic and commitment to their team developing a group of novice runners into champions. Valles and Samaniego ran on that team. Far from movie stars themselves, they now travel the country sharing their personal story of overcoming adversity with high school student athletes. Pictured (from the left): HHS boys -Francisco Medrano, Aurelio Delgado, Hunter Bloom, Jacob Morales, Aldo Acevedo, Joseph Lehmkuhl; joined by Thomas Valles & Johnny Samaniego; along with HHS’s ladies – Katherine Sanchez, Yovana Naranjo, Asuzena Loera, Jasmin Janicki, Jamie Smith, Brianna Bailey, Esther Ugalde, Katalina Soria, Jasmin Garcia and Mayra Naranjo.

Health Departments inform about mosquito spread EEE virus; 128,000 acres sprayed, includes Berr. County where mosquito virus found

By Annette Christie

Local and state health departments have provided public information regarding the recent reports of Eastern Equine Encephalitis in Michigan.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is a rare virus that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. As of September 30, there are two confirmed cases of EEE in Berrien County. There are seven confirmed cases of EEE throughout the State of Michigan in 2019. The Berrien County Health Department states that although there have been elevated numbers of EEE cases in Michigan this year, the illness remains extremely rare.

In a news release on September 18, the Berrien County Health Department stated that with the increase in cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, they continue to emphasize that residents take personal precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

Not all mosquitoes are capable of transmitting the virus, and not all cases of EEE result in severe symptoms. Mosquitoes that can carry the EEE virus tend to favor woodland and/or swampy habitats. Individual cases of EEE are more likely to occur in those over the age of 50, under the age of 15, or those who may have a weakened immune system from an underlying medical condition.

At the present time, the Berrien County Health Department is not recommending that community groups cancel outdoor evening events, such as sporting events. If practical, groups can consider relocating outdoor events to an indoor space. The Berrien County Health Department is working collaboratively with leadership at Berrien County school districts to take actions where needed and communicate directly with students and families.

The Berrien County and Van Buren County health departments have both provided the following recommendations for the public:

When outdoors, apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered product to exposed skin or clothing and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.

Residents should empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddies pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Bureau of Laboratories has confirmed Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in nine individuals in Michigan, including three deaths.