Eastern Equine Encephalitis / West Nile Virus - Mosquito Borne Diseases
Our department and the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission (SMAC) are urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito-borne diseases following reports of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in other parts of the state. Please take precautions against mosquito bites while outdoors, especially during activities occurring at or after dusk.
SCMAC continues to monitor mosquito and bird populations for mosquito-borne disease; including EEE and West Nile virus (WNV). While no EEE has been detected to date, WNV has been found in both mosquito and bird populations. Mosquito control efforts have been ongoing throughout the season; including community spraying for adult mosquitoes and treating standing water, likely sources of larval mosquitoes. SCMAC relies on surveillance to steer control operations and uses multiple strategies to control mosquito populations.
Saginaw County residents can stay healthy by following these steps to avoid mosquito bites, especially prior to outdoor activities:
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered products to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
- Children under 2 months old should not use repellant but rather be covered in clothing that covers exposed skin; strollers and baby carriers should be covered with mosquito netting.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Also apply insect repellant to clothing to help prevent bites.
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitos outside.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires, or similar sites where mosquitos may lay eggs.
- Use nets and/or fans over outside eating areas.
People can be infected with EEE, WNV, and California Group encephalitis virus from the bite of a mosquito carrying the viruses. Infections can occur even when the mosquito bite numbers are low. While infections rarely result in severe illness, the diseases can affect anyone; however, persons younger than 15 and over the age of 50 are at the greatest risk of severe illness following infection.
Signs of EEE and WNV include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and join aches. Symptoms of California encephalitis virus include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and lethargy. The diseases can develop into severe encephalitis, resulting in headaches, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma, and death may also occur in some cases. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit a health care provider or emergency room. There is an EEE vaccine available for horses, but not for people.