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Aerial spraying to occur in Berrien, Cass counties to combat mosquito-borne disease

NOW: Aerial spraying to occur in Berrien, Cass counties to combat mosquito-borne disease

BERRIEN COUNTY, Mich.—Aerial spraying to combat the mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) is set to occur in multiple locations across southwest Michigan, including in Berrien and Cass counties, according to the counties' health departments.

Spraying for mosquitoes is set to commence in portions of Pipestone Township, Berrien Township and the Village of Eau Claire on Sunday, September 29 during the evening or nighttime hours of 8 p.m. to 4 a.m., weather permitting.

Cass County will also begin aerial sprays on September 29, according to the Van Buren/ Cass District Health Department.

The pending case of EEE under investigation in Berrien County has been confirmed as an official EEE case but the case had exposure in mid-August and does not show new viral activity in the county, the health department said.

The newly confirmed case brings the total number of EEE cases in Berrien County to two humans and one deer.

The spraying in Berrien and Cass counties is a part of a broader effort by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and 12 local health departments to prevent exposure to EEE in high risk areas.

As of September 27, EEE has been confirmed in nine people, with three fatalities in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties, MDHHS said.

MDHHS also said that 27 animals in 13 Michigan counties had confirmed cases of EEE.

An EEE vaccine is available for horses but not for people.

During the spraying, professionals will apply approved pesticides as an ultra-low volume spray that dispenses as fine aerosol droplets that kill adult mosquitoes on contact, according to MDHHS.

According to MDHHS, health risks are not expected during or following spraying and no special precautions are required.

People with known sensitivities to pyrethrins, a chemical found in the spray, can reduce risk to exposure by staying indoors during spraying, MDHHS said.

Visit Michigan.gov/EEE for updated information on spraying.

Here are steps you can take to avoid mosquito bites, according to the health department:

  • Apply 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
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply 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
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas
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