FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 30, 2019
KALAMAZOO, MI – Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department is confirming that there will be no aerial treatment spraying of insecticide in Kalamazoo County. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) notified Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department that the number of resident opt-out notifications received by MDHHS comprises a large enough geographic distribution in which aerial spraying would no longer be an effective measure to reduce adult mosquito populations in Kalamazoo County. Therefore, despite the distribution of known human and animal cases, Kalamazoo County will be unable to continue with the aerial spraying plan.
On September 27, 2019, Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department, along with thirteen other county health departments, endorsed the strong recommendation from MDHHS to perform aerial spraying of insecticide to reduce adult mosquito populations given the ongoing risk of EEE infection in Kalamazoo County. Under State law with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) residents must be notified 48 hours prior to any insecticide application on property allowing residents the choice to opt out of the application.
“Due to the large amount of residents who have chosen to exercise their option to opt out under the MDARD law, aerial application of insecticide will no longer be an effective treatment option for Kalamazoo County.” said James Rutherford, Health Officer Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services.
Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department continues to urge Kalamazoo County residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites due to the ongoing health risk of exposure to EEE. The best way to prevent EEE or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Avoid outdoor activities from dusk until dawn (7:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.) when mosquitos that carry EEE virus are most active. If outdoor activities are necessary, please
take the following precautions:
- Apply EPA registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin,
IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, and 2-undecanone; follow the product label instructions and reapply as directed.
- Don’t use repellent on children under 2 months old. Instead dress your child in clothing that
covers arms and legs and cover crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
- Wear shoes and socks, light-colored long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
- Use bed nets when sleeping outdoors or in conditions with no window screens.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home,
including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water once a week.
- Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas
Signs of EEE infection include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures and paralysis. Anyone who thinks they may be experiencing these symptoms should contact a medical provider. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.
More information about EEE are available at www.michigan.gov/EEE.