A portion of Livingston County was sprayed Saturday night in efforts to control the spread of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, or EEE.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the aerial spraying of a portion of Green Oak and Hamburg townships took place starting at dusk Saturday and continued through to the early morning hours on Sunday. The area targeted for spraying was within a 2.5 mile radius of a confirmed animal case in Hamburg Township. Despite public concern over the effects of the pesticide, state health officials insist aerial spraying was the most effective way to combat the mosquitos that transmit EEE, considered one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the country with a fatality rate estimated at about 33% of those who become ill after infection.
The substance being sprayed is Merus 3.0, an EPA-registered, organic botanical adult mosquito insecticide containing 5% pyrethrins which are naturally found in chrysanthemum flowers. Livingston County Director of Environmental Health Matt Bolang previously said the dosage being used is very small, about one tablespoon per acre, and it degrades quickly, adding that when it is airborne it will degrade within hours and, in the soil, it can last about a day or two but will break down shortly after that.
Authorities say the risk of bites from infected mosquitoes is highest for people who work or play outdoors in these areas and advise those who do to wear insect repellent when outdoors (especially at dawn and dusk) as an especially important method to prevent EEE. (JK)
Picture is of aerial spray planes as they prepare to take off. Provided by the MDHHS.