10-17-2019 Fifth death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis announced; new animal case confirmed; citi

LAST YEAR… Watervliet Middle School Student Council members Ella Harris (left) and Lauren Laws (right) spearheaded the idea to have water bottle filling stations installed in Watervliet Middle School. Student Council donated $600 towards the completion of this project. Congratulations to Lauren and Ella for making their school a better place and helping to save the environment.

Fifth death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis announced; new animal case confirmed; citizens urged to continue taking precautions until hard frost occurs

A fifth death due to Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) has been confirmed in a Cass County resident and an additional horse has been diagnosed with the disease in Allegan County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced Monday. And although frost is predicted in parts of the state this week, MDHHS urges residents to continue taking precautions against mosquitoes. “The risk of EEE continues if there has not been a sustained period of freezing temperatures,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for MDHHS. “We urge residents to continue taking precautions against mosquito bites.”

The latest animal case confirmed in Allegan County showed symptoms of the disease on Oct. 1. Parts of Allegan County were treated Oct. 3 and 6. In total, EEE has been confirmed in 10 people, with five fatalities. Cases resided in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties. In addition, EEE been confirmed in 40 animals from 16 counties: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph, Tuscola and Van Buren. EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill and leaving many survivors with physical and mental disabilities. People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. Aerial treatment covering more than 557,000 acres targeting 14 counties was completed Oct. 7 to help combat EEE.

Residents should continue to protect themselves from mosquito bites by: Avoiding being outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes that carry the EEE virus are most active; applying 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 directions for use; wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites; maintaining window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside; emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddies pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs; using nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AIDS CROSSING GUARDS… 2019 Hartford High School graduate Janell Babcock completed her senior community service project by soliciting donations in support of the city’s crossing guards. Raising in excess of $900, she was able to provide eight new safety cones, and two LED stop signs and three high-visibility safety vests! Crediting Hanson Logistics, Kellogg’s Hardware and Big Twin, Janell is pictured with High School Principal & District Safety Officer Dave Janicki, Reserve Sgt. Jim Coleman and School Resource Officer Brandon Bowman, who is also a Hartford alumnus, from 2011. Hartford Police Chief Tressa Beltran says, “It’s truly awesome to see one of our grads put forth the effort to help insure the safety of students of all ages throughout our city.”

We salute the victims of Breast Cancer, their families and the caregivers who support them October 2019: Breast Cancer Awareness Month