After they passed away, the wolf pups were tested, and health officials confirmed that they died of a rare virus called Eastern Equine Encephalitis (also known as Triple-E for short). They took measures to tame this mosquito-transferred virus to people and animals.

The two wolves were delivered by a couple of breeding wolves at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek on June 14. The only surviving puppy seems to be healthy, and she and her parents are being closely monitored.

The wolves belong to the Mexican gray wolf breed, the rarest of all subspecies of gray wolves. Only 131 of them were registered in the wild in 2018, according to the zoo’s press announcement.

The Triple-E infection is extremely rare in canines. Nevertheless, there have been some cases previously recorded that involved domestic dog pups. The zoo’s staff veterinarian, Dr. K. Thompson, says that all species at the zoo which are sensitive to this infection, domestic or not, are immunized annually.

So far, the presence of the virus has been noted in humans and animals in at least twelve Michigan counties, reported the Department of Health and Human Services of the state of Michigan (MDHHS). Three death outcomes were published in the state’s southwest.

The most recent number of diseased and deceased by counties — eight in total —  is given in the following list:

Human Cases:

  • Kalamazoo — 3 (fatal)
  • Van Buren — 1 (fatal)
  • Cass — 1 (fatal)
  • Barry — 1
  • Calhoun — 1
  • Berrien — 1

Furthermore, the virus has also been confirmed in twenty-five animal cases in St. Joseph, Van Buren, Newaygo, Montcalm, Lapeer, Kalamazoo, Jackson, Genesee, Cass, Calhoun, Berrien, and Barry.

People are advised to take necessary measures to prevent mosquito bites. In the affected areas, the officials are encouraged by the department to cancel, reschedule, or postpone any outdoor events, even spots ones, at or after sunset until the time of hard frosts. Also, aerial spraying is being thought out.

MDHHS announced the following symptoms and signs of the virus as showing that one should seek medical help: sudden high body temperature (fever) that persists, joint and muscle ache, tremors, seizures, disorientation, headache, and paralysis. All of those can appear as a consequence of severe encephalitis. Furthermore, it can lead to brain damage, coma, and in some cases even death.

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