As you have likely heard, there have been three confirmed cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Southwest Michigan. Eastern Equine Encephalitis is a mosquito-borne disease. Two of the cases were confirmed in Kalamazoo county and one in Berrien County, with others currently being investigated.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) reports, “Mosquito-borne diseases can cause long-term health effects in people and even death. These cases, along with confirmed cases in horses and deer in the state, stress the importance of taking precautions against mosquito bites.
The Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) does not currently recommend that schools or clubs cancel evening events, like practices or games. A copy of the press release from BCHD is available on SWM Rec’s website at this link.
The safety of players, parents, and other attendees at the Lakeshore Youth Soccer Complex is the utmost priority for our organization. Like the Lakeshore School District and SWM Kickers, SWM Rec will continue to follow the recommendations of the Berrien County Health Department.
SWM Rec is implementing the following precautionary measures to ensure the safety of players, parents, and attendees at the Lakeshore Youth Soccer Complex. Parents are also encouraged to follow these measures, when possible:
- Mosquitos are most active around dusk. Games that occur at or after sunset have been rescheduled for earlier playing times. Please note: SWM Rec has reached out to other soccer clubs and encouraged them to follow the same actions. If your child has an away game against another club, SWM Rec is not responsible for that club’s scheduling of the game.
- Coaches are strongly encouraged to end all practices by 7 PM.
- All coaches should be on the lookout for any standing water on the fields. Coaches are instructed to cancel soccer activities if there is nearby standing water.
- When outdoors, apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-registered product to exposed skin or clothing, and always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use. All attendees to the Rockey Weed Fields are advised to acquire insect repellent for personal use. We encourage all attendees to apply repellent, but it will not be mandated.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- SWM Rec is discussing additional preventative measures with SWM Kickers and Lincoln Charter Township.
If the Berrien County Health Department changes its recommendation regarding Eastern Equine Encephalitis, SWM Rec will react accordingly and provide additional updates via e-mail.