Aerial spraying to begin in Southwest Michigan

NOW: Aerial spraying to begin in Southwest Michigan

CASSOPOLIS, Ind.-- Families living in parts of Southwest Michigan are set to see the first round of aerial application of insecticide to help the fight against eastern equine encephalitis.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services tells me the aerial sprays happen at about 300 feet in the air.

The distance allows the fine aerosol spray droplets to have a more direct spray.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus is becoming a huge cause for concern.

The virus is usually carried by horses.

The virus has now spread to humans, nine of them to be exact in Michigan alone.

“This time, my biggest concern is the number of human cases as well as the horses. Before, I've never seen this number of human cases reported like this year so that’s unusual," said Dr. Gary Fedore, Veterinarian at Fedore Veterinarian services in Cassopolis.

Dr. Fedore has been working with cases of EEE in horses since the 1970’s.

In the last 3 weeks, he’s had to put down at least half a dozen horses.

He’s calling on the county and state officials to conduct aerial sprays to kill the insects.

“I think its important that they do it because of the human cases and also to try to cut down the number of mosquitoes," said Dr. Fedore.

With higher than normal humidity levels this week creating increased mosquito activity, his concerns are being shared by a few others living in Cassopolis. 

In Cass County, one person has been infected with EEE.

“I have a lot of concern for hunters, my children hunt. The animals and the people so I think it needs to be done," said Cassopolis resident, Redden Todd.

“I feel better with that but do we know what they’re putting on top of us. That’s the scary part too, do we really know what they're using to fight it," said Cassopolis resident, Sarah Senour.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials tells ABC57 the insecticide is an EPA registered organic botanical adult mosquito insecticide.

They state the chemical is an organic spray safe for organic crops, farms and pets.

Families in Berrien, Cass, Saint Joseph, and Van Buren counties can expect to see planes similar to these Aerial Application planes spraying the chemical Monday night but at dusk until four in the morning.

“I just recommend the vaccine. It's the most important thing to do and just avoid having the horses out when the mosquitoes are the worst and people obviously keeping out of the mosquitoes as much as you can," suggests Dr. Fedore.

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