JACKSON COUNTY, Michigan – Aerial spraying to control equine encephalitis virus is scheduled for zones in Washten and Jackson counties on Saturday, October 5th.
Spraying areas include Concord, Lakes Lake and Northfield villages, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. For the specific boundaries for each area, click on the town names.
Starting at twilight on Saturday, spraying will begin in six districts across Michigan – Calhoun, Jackson, Lapper, Washten and Livingston. All spraying will stop by 4:30 AM
Since Monday, September 30, the state has spread over 365,000 hectares of land. According to the Jackson County Health Department, low-flying planes give off tiny droplets of aerosol that remain suspended in the air and kill adult mosquitoes.
EEE is a mosquito-borne virus. Some cases can lead to convulsions, paralysis, permanent brain damage, coma and death. You should consult your doctor immediately if you notice any symptoms.
Rain, wind, or cold temperatures are one of the factors that can delay spraying, said Susan Ringer-Chernilla, administrator of the Communications and Health Promotion Division of Washteen County.
Spraying will stop if the temperature drops below 19 degrees, she said.
"They are still active at this temperature and spraying is effective," Ringer-Chernilla said. "As soon as it drops below this temperature, we lose the benefits because they are inactive."
The forecast low temperature of Saturday night in Jackson and Washten is 52 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.
Deer and one horse have an EEE test in Jackson County, while no animal tested positive in Washteen County. The Washington County area receiving the spraying is within 2.5 miles of a horse that tested positive for EEV in Livingston County. Nine people in Michigan have tested positive since the outbreak, and four in nine have died from the virus. The disease has a 33 percent fatality rate in Michigan.
Spraying is required until severe frost can eradicate the mosquitoes, as Ringler-Chernilla points out that it is not expected for several more weeks. The EEE problem is still a concern as more animals are testing positive this week and there is new evidence that the mosquito-borne virus is still active, she said.
"It's a pretty extreme event," she said. "But, unfortunately, we have an extraordinary disease that we have evidence that there is still a risk."
The aerial pesticide is used in "incredibly low doses," said Ringer-Chernilla, and is approved and commonly used for organic farming. About a tablespoon of product is being sprayed per hectare of land, she said.