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Upton requests information from CDC as biggest EEE outbreak in decade hits Michigan

Three Michigan residents have died and four others have been sickened by the mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis

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Washington, September 27, 2019 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following reports that three Michigan residents have died from the mosquito-borne virus Eastern equine encephalitis, U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph sent a letter to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention requesting information to learn more about the CDC’s efforts to prevent the spread of the disease.

Given the record numbers of EEE cases in Michigan and other at-risk states, we would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the CDC’s efforts to prevent the spread of this vector borne illness. I would also like to learn of any effort to develop treatments for those who have already contracted this disease,” wrote Upton.

Four other Michigan residents have also been sickened by the disease. 14 counties in Michigan are affected, including all six in the Sixth District.

As of September 24, the CDC has received reports of 28 confirmed cases of EEE across seven states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Tennessee, resulting in seven deaths. According to the CDC, this is the largest annual number of EEE cases reported to CDC in more than 50 years.

Residents are encouraged to take the necessary precautions. Tips from health officials include:

  • Wear long sleeves in the evening
  • Wear inspect repellent
  • Go the hospital immediately if you notice any symptoms
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside

You can read the letter online here or below.

Click here to read more about preventing EEE from the CDC.



Dr. Robert Redfield

Director

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Rd.

Atlanta, GA 30329

Dear Director Redfield:

I write to request a Congressional briefing on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) strategy to combat the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), now confirmed to have caused seven deaths in seven states.

Given the record numbers of EEE cases in Michigan and other at-risk states, we would appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the CDC’s efforts to prevent the spread of this vector borne illness. I would also like to learn of any effort to develop treatments for those who have already contracted this disease. 

Historically EEE cases are rare.  However, southern Michigan has recently been hit particularly hard with seven confirmed cases, three of which resulted in death. Dr. Joneigh Khaldan, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services stated that “Michigan is experiencing its worst Eastern equine encephalitis outbreak in more than a decade.” Concern about EEE has prompted some communities to take extra precautions, including altering start times for football games at local high schools to avoid risk of exposure.

As you know, EEE is a rare vector-borne viral infection that is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Only a few cases are reported in the United States each year. EEE infection can be severe and involve the central nervous system. Approximately one-third of all people with EEE die from the disease, and many survivors develop ongoing neurological problems. However, this year, we have seen an alarming spike of EEE cases.

I request that you share the most recent surveillance data and the details of the CDC’s strategy to combat EEE infection as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Fred Upton
Member of Congress

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