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Town of Bristol giving out free bug spray to fight EEE virus

NOW: Town of Bristol giving out free bug spray to fight EEE virus

BRISTOL, Ind. --- More and more cases of the Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus have been confirmed in Southwest Michigan. Mosquitos carrying the EEE virus can spread easily and with 5 cases involving horses in Elkhart County to date; one town within the county took steps to protect its residents.

The Elkhart County Health Department received multiple calls from residents who are concerned about the growing threat of the EEE virus in the community.

The type of mosquito that carries the virus had been found in Elkhart County and due to the large amount of woodland ponds throughout the county, it makes the area more susceptible, according to the Environmental Division of the Elkhart County Health Department.

“With the human cases reported just over the state line, the mosquitos that carry this can fly up to five miles,” explained Jessica Daub, Environmentalist at the Elkhart County Health Department. “There’s no wall between Michigan and Indiana. We just want to protect people and make sure that no one here gets it as well,” said Daub.

33% of people with the EEE virus die from the disease and people under the age of 15 and over the age of 15 are more susceptible to getting the virus.

The Town of Bristol recently passed a $500 budget to purchase bug spray with deet in it for the towns’ residents. Jeff Beachy, Bristol Town Council President, told ABC 57 that the repellant will be purchased throughout the week and will then be available for residents to pick it up at the Bristol Fire Department.

Local Bristol Organization, Bristol on the River, donated wearable bug bands for residents to wear, which acts as a mosquito repellant.

While there’s no guarantee that providing repellant will keep everyone safe, Beachy hopes it’ll make a difference.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Beachy. “It’s a preventative measure that will help as long as people are using the products effectively and I would say this, if you’re outside make sure you’re protected and you have some insect repellant on,” said Beachy.

Julie Wuerfel, owner of Mosquito Squad, told ABC 57 that taking these threats seriously is crucial.

“You’re never really safe,” said Wuerfel. “I mean a mosquito can still hatch. Unless you’re going to stay somehow in some little bubble, you’re not safe,” said Wuerfel.

The Environmental Division of the Elkhart County Health Department encourages everyone to use bug spray containing deet and dress in pants with long sleeves during the evening.

While some were concerned that spraying for mosquitos is not effective during this time, spraying is always important—especially in the current weather conditions, according to Wuerfel.

“It’s always important to treat,” said Wuerfel. “You’re going to kill off any mosquitos that exist today so they don’t have a chance to lay eggs, which means they can’t reproduce,” continued Wuerfel.

The Environmental Division also received several calls from people concerned with how to protect babies and young children. The Environmental Division advised that parents spray children over the age of 2 months with bug spray.

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