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Michigan's health department has no plans for anti-EEE insecticide spraying this year

An apparently dead mosquito is held by tweezers backlit by a light as it is examined close up against a background of fibrous strands.
Rick Bowmer/AP
Salt Lake City Mosquito Abatement District biologist Nadja Reissen examines a mosquito in Salt Lake City in 2019. MDHHS reported 10 human cases of EEE that year, six of which were fatal.

The state carried out aerial spraying in 2020 after a deadly outbreak of Eastern Equine Encephalitis the year before.

This year mosquitos in Barry and Bay counties have tested positive for EEE, a rare but potentially fatal disease.

But so far, no Michigan resident has been diagnosed with EEE in 2023, according to state and local health officials. And Michigan Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Lynn Sutfin told WMUK the state does not have plans for aerial insecticide treatment this summer.

In 2019 Michigan had 10 human cases of EEE, six of which were fatal. Plans for aerial spraying to cut the mosquito population proved controversial. But the following year, as the state also coped with the Covid-19 pandemic, MDHHS ordered insecticide treatment in several counties.

Despite the lack of human cases this year, Michiganders are still advised to prevent mosquito bites by spraying themselves with DEET insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, emptying outside water containers once a week, and using mosquito nets and fans while outdoors.

More recently, Kalamazoo County's health department reported the first detection this year of another mosquito-borne disease, West Nile Virus. The department says mosquitos at the Kleinstuck Nature Preserve tested positive for the virus.

This is the second positive detection of West Nile Virus in Michigan this year.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.