Ottawa County Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) Notice

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October 3, 2019  |  Eastern Equine Encephalitis

Ottawa County Notice

Ottawa County does not have a human or animal case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), so no recommendation to postpone, reschedule or cancel outdoor activities is in effect at this time. However, out of an abundance of caution, Ottawa County residents or organizations may consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling outdoor activities should they feel it is necessary.

If a human or animal case of EEE is identified in Ottawa County, a recommendation will be made for residents and organizations to consider postponing, rescheduling or canceling activities occurring at or after dusk until the first hard frost. This follows the guidance of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

At this time, Ottawa County is not participating in mosquito spraying for EEE because there has been no human or animal EEE cases reported in Ottawa County. As information becomes available, it will be shared to keep the public informed. Click here for more information about aerial spraying in Michigan.


As of October 2, 2019, there have been nine human EEE cases in Michigan-Kalamazoo, Berrien, Barry, Cass, Calhoun and Van Buren Counties. Four of those cases resulted in death. Additionally, EEE has been identified in 33 animals. The animal cases have been identified in 15 different counties including: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lapeer, Livingston, Montcalm, Newaygo, St. Joseph and Van Buren. Find the most up-to-date information and educational materials at

Frequently Asked Questions
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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, EEE is a rare but serious disease that is caused by a virus that spreads through the bite of an infected mosquito. Disease transmission does not occur directly from person to person. 

Only about four to five percent of human EEE infections result in illness and most people who are infected will never show symptoms. Less than one percent of people infected develop a serious neurological issue that can progress to encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Approximately 30 percent of the people whose illness progresses to this point will die and many of those who survive have mild to severe brain damage.

"Although EEE is very rare, we are urging people to protect themselves against mosquito bites to prevent any of the mosquito-borne diseases," stated Dr. Paul Heidel, OCDPH medical director.

People who have been bitten by mosquitoes should monitor their health and talk with their healthcare provider if they develop symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, confusion, body and joint aches.

Prevention is Key


Since there is no human vaccine against EEE disease, people are urged to protect themselves against mosquito bites through the following steps:

  • Limit time spent outdoors during dusk.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET. Follow all label directions. Click here for more information about repellants.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply DEET insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.

Who is at risk for infection with EEE?

Anyone in an area where the virus is circulating in mosquitoes can get infected with EEE. The risk is highest for people who live in or visit woodland habitats, and people who work outside or participate in outdoor recreational activities, because of greater exposure to potentially infected mosquitoes. People older than 50 years of age and younger than 15 years of age, along with individuals who are immunocompromised, are considered to be at the greatest risk for developing severe disease when infected with the EEE virus.



How soon do people get sick after getting bitten by an infected mosquito?

It takes four to 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito to develop symptoms of EEE.


How is EEE diagnosed?

Diagnosis is based on tests of blood or spinal fluid. These tests typically look for antibodies that the body makes against the viral infection.

What is the treatment for EEE?

There is no specific treatment for EEE. Antibiotics are not effective against viruses, and no effective antiviral drugs have been discovered. Severe illnesses are treated by supportive therapy which may include hospitalization, respiratory support, IV fluids and prevention of other infections.

Why are we seeing EEE cases in Michigan?

Michigan has had outbreaks of EEE about every decade since 1980 when the first human case was reported in the state. This year, the number of EEE cases are significantly higher than in previous years. In fact, Michigan has seen the same number of EEE cases in this one year as the last ten years combined. It is unknown exactly why some years are more severe than others, although weather, including temperature and rainfall, is thought to play a role.



Can my pet get EEE?

EEE is rare in dogs and cats, however, when cases have been identified in dogs, they’re typically less than six months old. Horses are very susceptible to EEE and approximately 90 percent of horses that show signs of EEE die from the disease. A vaccine is available for horses.

How do I protect my pets from EEE?

Keep pets indoors as much as possible between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active. Mosquito repellents labeled for use on people should not be used on pets. There are some topical products that can be applied to dogs to protect them from mosquitoes; concerned pet owners should work with their veterinarian.



Can I get sick from eating deer meat if it is infected with EEE?

If an animal appears ill, you should not consume the meat from that animal, as there are other illnesses that can be transmitted. To kill potential pathogens, wild game should always be thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, measured with a meat thermometer. Click here for more information from the Department of Natural Resources.


Kristina Wieghmink
OCDPH Public Information Officer
616-494-5597 or


MDHHS EEE Outbreak Response Updates,4579,7-186-76711_77442---,00.html