Isabella Co. Doctor Shares Tips on Protecting Yourself from EEE

There have been three deaths in Michigan from EEE in Michigan reported this summer.

Those deaths have been in the southwestern part of the state, but doctors say it could spread.

“It’s become a significant problem in Michigan over the last few months,” Dr. Terry Ball said.

Doctor of osteopathic medicine, Terry Ball says only five percent of people who get eastern equine encephalitis show symptoms.

“Ninety-five percent will just get better without ever knowing that they we infected,” she said.

But the virus can take a deadly turn if it reaches the brain.

Doctor Ball says people in Northern Michigan still need to be cautious, even though there haven’t been any cases reported here.

“We see trends where things will start in one part of the state and then you start to see it county by county,” Dr. Ball said.

She says staying indoors at dawn and dusk, wearing protective clothing and using bug spray are all things you can do to lower your risk

“If you go outdoors and see that the mosquitoes are buzzing all around, go in.”

The young and the elderly are those most at risk.

“Some of the increased risk are due to immune system and then sometimes we see higher prevelances just because kids play outside more,” Dr. Ball said.

Dr. Ball says simply taking a look at what’s in your yard can be an important step.

“If you have outdoor plants, if you have decorative water features you don’t want to have those because those are breeding ground for mosquitos,” she said.

And if symptoms do show up, they’re similar to the flu.

But, there is no cure for EEE.

“High fever; body aches, muscle aches, headaches are very common. What you want to watch if someone started to get lethargic and is not responsive. We have treatment which is just supportive treatment where someone may have to go into the hospital and get IV fluids and they’re just watched,” she said.

The risk of contracting the virus is gone once Michigan sees its first freeze of the year.