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Aerial Mosquito Spraying Expected In Jackson County

(September 15, 2020 3:08 PM)  Portions of Leoni and Grass Lake Township are scheduled for aerial mosquito control treatment. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will conduct treatment in targeted areas across the State of Michigan to control mosquitoes that carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE. Spraying is scheduled to begin in Michigan in impacted areas on Wednesday, September 16 after dusk and will continue until dawn. Treatment can only take place under certain weather conditions therefore the exact schedule is not currently known. Up to date information will be available at Michigan.gov/EEE.

As of September 13, EEE has been confirmed in 22 horses in 10 counties in Michigan. Treatment areas were selected based on the location of known cases and include Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland County. Additional areas may be selected for treatment at a later date if new human or animal cases occur outside of the currently identified zones.

The Michigan Department of Agricultural and Rural Development (MDARD) has issued an emergency rule temporarily amending Rule 11 on notification of community pesticide applications for aerial spraying treatment. This means mosquito control treatment will be required for those areas that are identified by the aerial treatment plan with the exception of federal properties and tribal lands.

“At this time, we are recommending that individuals limit activities outdoors from dusk to dawn, when mosquito activity is high. While aerial spraying can help to reduce the mosquito population, only until a hard frost occurs, can we be assured that the mosquito population will be decreased significantly.” says Rashmi Travis, Jackson County Health Department Health Officer.

Aerial spraying is conducted by low-flying aircraft, beginning at dusk and continuing until 4:30 a.m. the next morning, in areas of concern. Mosquito control professionals will apply approved pesticides as an ultra-low volume (ULV) spray. ULV sprayers dispense very fine aerosol droplets that stay suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes on contact. This is a tactic other states employ to combat EEE.

Aerial spraying will be conducted only during the nighttime hours as this is when mosquitos are most active. It is also when fish are less likely to be at the surface feeding and honeybees are most likely to be in their hives. However, owners should cover small ornamental fishponds during the night of spraying. Large bodies of water will not receive the treatment. Merus 3.0 is OMRI Listed and can be used around organic crops and gardens. It may be used in certified organic production or food processing and handling according to the USDA National Organic Program regulations.

While it is not necessary to bring animals indoors during spraying, owners may choose to bring animals inside during spraying. Additional information about aerial spraying and other health-related information is available in a Frequently Asked Questions document at Michigan.gov/EEE.

EEE is a very rare, but serious disease caused by a virus. The virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected when they bite infected birds. Mosquitoes spread the virus to humans or other mammals, like horses or deer. EEE is only spread by mosquitoes; it cannot be spread to you by other humans or animals.

Even if bitten by a mosquito that carries EEE, people have only a 4-5% chance of developing the disease. Symptoms usually occur within 4-10 days after the infected mosquito bite. Symptoms can be severe, including sudden onset of high fever, headache, stiff neck, and can cause swelling of the brain, leading to seizures, coma, or death.

Individuals who are over the age of 50, under the age of 15, or have compromised immune systems due to underlying medical conditions or treatments are at elevated risk for contracting the virus.

Avoid mosquito bites by doing the following:

• Use an EPA-approved insect repellent containing an active ingredient like DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus on exposed skin and/or clothing. Always follow the directions on the package.

• Wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors as the weather permits.

• Consider limiting time outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes outside.

• Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, children’s toys, or other containers around your home.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/eee and www.cdc.gov/eee.

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