By Jessica Mathews /

A confirmed local case of a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus in a horse has expanded aerial treatment areas to include Livingston County.

With the confirmation of six additional horse cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis, aerial treatment is slated to continue and additional treatment blocks have been added to the overall plan. EEE is a potentially deadly mosquito-borne virus affecting both people and animals. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says there are now 28 cases in 11 counties. Impacted counties include Livingston, Barry, Clare, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Newaygo and Oakland. There is also one suspect case of EEE in a Barry County resident.

Aerial treatment is conducted using specialized aircraft, beginning in the early evening and continuing up until the following dawn. Health Promotion Coordinator Natasha Radke with the Livingston County Health Department told WHMI EEE was confirmed in a horse in Livingston County. It became ill and was subsequently euthanized. Because of the confirmed case, Livingston County is now part of the MDHHS aerial treatment zone, which includes any areas that have a confirmed animal or human case. State officials say the additional cases of EEE in horses underscores the importance of providing aerial treatment in the affected counties. With consecutive years of widespread infection, officials say EEE vaccinations should be a routine part of animals’ veterinary care. The newly discovered EEE cases expand or add treatment blocks in Ionia, Jackson, Kent, Livingston and Montcalm counties. Aerial treatment conducted on Wednesday covered more than 157,000 acres. On Thursday night, different blocks in Kent, Newaygo, Oceana and Muskegon counties were scheduled to be sprayed – and possibly some in Barry and Jackson counties depending on time and weather.

The Livingston County Health Department says there is not an exact time or date for the local aerial spraying yet but that information will be released as soon as available. The press release and Aerial Treatment Zones Map are attached.