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Ask Dr. Nandi: Blood donors test positive for West Nile Virus in Metro Detroit

Posted: 10:07 AM, Sep 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-08 10:07:06-04

Two local metro Detroiters who donated blood have tested positive for the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease here in the United States. And a third local person is suspected of having this potentially serious disease – and that’s West Nile Virus.

You may think you’d have symptoms but most people who get infected actually don’t feel sick at all. In fact, it’s only about 1 in 5 people that develop a fever and get other symptoms like body aches, vomiting, joint pains and diarrhea.

So you can easily have the West Nile Virus and not even know it. Which is why it’s great that the American Red Cross test blood donations for this along with many other infectious diseases. It’s to help keep those who need blood safe.

Last year here in Michigan 104 people were sickened and nine died. So while many of the people who get the virus recover, about 1 in 150 will develop a severe illness that affects the central nervous system like encephalitis or meningitis. Unfortunately, about 1 in 10 will die.

Although anyone at any age can develop a serious illness, those most at risk are folks aged 60 or older. Plus anyone who has cancer, hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease.

Unfortunately there are no treatments or vaccines available. So it’s really important to protect yourself against mosquito bites until the cooler temperatures arrive and we’re consistently below 50 degrees.

Since we still have a ways to go before that happens, be sure to use EPA-registered insect repellents when outside, wear protective clothing like long-sleeved tops and pants, make sure your doors and windows are screened if you have them open, and empty any standing water in things like flowerpots, birdbaths and gutters.

Everyone has stress in their lives, but too much stress can be dangerous. This week on The Dr. Nandi Show, Dr. Partha Nandi gets life-saving tips from experts. Author Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., offers stress relievers for professional women, Stress Management Coach Lolita Guarin shows how to keep your cool in the workplace, Psychologist Dr. Susan Albers talks about the best foods for reducing stress and the internationally-renowned Ajayan Borys speaks on the transformational impact of meditation. Tune in Sunday, September 8th at 1 pm right here on WXYZ.