Fourth person dies in Michigan from mosquito-borne virus EEE

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP/WNDU) - A fourth Michigan resident has died from rare mosquito-borne virus that has been recorded across the southern half of the state.

Steve Zalner. Photo from WOOD-TV

WWMT-TV reports that 79-year-old Stan Zalner of Battle Creek died Wednesday after contracting Eastern equine encephalitis.

He was taken off life support because he had suffered too much brain damage from the disease, according to our sister station WOOD-TV.

Ronna Bagent tells WWMT-TV that her father was hospitalized in September with severe flu-like symptoms before doctors were able to confirm the illness through blood tests.

Family members told WOOD-TV that he is believed to have been bitten by an infected mosquito some time in August.

He started having mild symptoms, such as feeling achy or tired, and eventually got a fever and major swelling of the brain.

The Calhoun County Public Health Department is reminding people to take precautions to reduce their risk of getting the deadly virus.

"The disease is here. It's in our mosquito population. I looked 15 days out. We don't have frost coming over the next 15-plus days," health department official Eric Pessell said. "Mosquitoes are going to continue to be around, so we need to protect ourselves, reduce our risk, and I think that's the term, reduce our risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito."

Nine cases have been confirmed in six southern or southwestern Michigan counties. More than 30 animals -- including 18 horses -- in more than a dozen counties also have died from the disease.

State health officials say low-flying aircraft are expected to spray pesticides Wednesday in Calhoun and 10 other counties. The pesticides kill adult mosquitoes on contact.

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Information from: WWMT-TV, http://www.wwmt.com

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10/2/2019 3:43:45 PM (GMT -4:00)