FLINT (WJRT) (9/25/2019) - Flint Community Schools is moving up the start time of its Friday night football games as a precaution against Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
The games will start at 5 p.m. until further notice based on suggestions from health experts to avoid the outdoors at and after dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
Michigan is in the midst of the state's worst EEE outbreak in 10 years. Eight human cases primarily in Southwest Michigan have been reported, leading to three deaths.
A deer in Genesee County and a horse in Lapeer County were found with the disease earlier this week. A total of 21 animals in Barry, Berrien, Calhoun, Cass, Genesee, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Lapeer, Montcalm, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties have confirmed EEE infection.
EEE is one of the most dangerous diseases spread by mosquito bites, leading to a 33 percent fatality rate among humans. There is a vaccine for horses, but not humans.
State health officials are urging everyone to take special precautions against mosquitoes in the 11 affected counties. Several school districts are spraying for mosquitoes this week and altering evening outdoor activity schedules.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services offered the following tips for how people can protect themselves:
• Limit outdoor activities or take precautions to avoid biting when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
• Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 according to label instructions. Only use products that are registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
• When outdoors wear socks, long pants, and long-sleeved shirts.
• Make sure windows and doors have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
• Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water found in birdbaths, wading pools, and old tires.