On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced that a resident of Barry County, Michigan, was suspected of having Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), which is a potentially deadly mosquito-borne illness.
In addition to the suspected case, 22 horses across 10 counties in the state have been confirmed to have EEE, which has put residents of those areas at risk of being infected.
Confirmed cases of EEE in animals is not unusual, but the number recorded so far this year is double the amount at the same time in 2019, according to CNN.
In reaction to the suspected human case, the MDHHS confirmed that the department is conducting aerial treatment in high-risk areas in the state.
The department will spray pesticide over the 10 counties that have reported cases in horses to control the mosquito population and reduce the risk of infection, according to USA Today.
In a statement on Thursday, Dr Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, urged residents in the 10 affected counties to stay indoors after dark to protect themselves.
Dr Khaldun said: “This suspected EEE case in a Michigan resident shows this is an ongoing threat to the health and safety of Michiganders and calls for continued actions to prevent exposure, including aerial treatment.”
She added: “MDHHS continues to encourage local officials in the affected counties to consider postponing, rescheduling or cancelling outdoor activities occurring at or after dusk, particularly those involving children to reduce the potential for people to be bitten by mosquitoes.”
On average, there are only seven cases of EEE in the US every year, but in 2019 six people died from the mosquito-borne virus in Michigan, as there were 38 confirmed infections across the country.
Mild symptoms of EEE include a fever, chills and general discomfort, while severe cases can involve meningitis and brain swelling.