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Confirmed West Nile virus in Michigan

Posted at 3:55 PM, Jun 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-21 06:47:24-04

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health (MDHHS) is urging residents to take caution against mosquito bites.

The MDHHS released on Thursday, June 20, the first findings of the West Nile Virus in the state.

The virus has been confirmed in mosquitoes collected recently in Saginaw and Oakland counties, as well as in a Canadian goose in Kalamazoo County.

The best way to avoid the virus is to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting mosquito bites.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using insect repellent wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors during those time periods.”

Illness from the virus can happy to anyone but people working outside and citizens over 60 years old have a higher risk of getting sick.

If you aren't feeling well and have recently been bitten, check to see if you have these symptoms:

  • high fever
  • confusion
  • muscles weakness
  • severe headache

According to the release, most people that contract the illness have no clinical symptoms of illness right away. However, they may become ill 3 - 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Mosquitoes pick up the virus by feeding on an infected bird and then transmit it by biting you.

In 2018, 104 serious illnesses were reported, along with 9 deaths related to the illness in Michigan.

And nationally, there were 2,544 human cases of the virus and 137 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus tends to develop quicker when the temperatures warm up.

People should remove or empty places where mosquitoes breed from near their homes. These places are storm drains, shallow ditches, retention ponds, and unused pools or buckets that have been collecting water.

The MDHHS has listed these ways to protect yourself against mosquito bites:
• Using EPA registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, and 2-undecanone; follow the product label instructions and reapply as directed.
Don’t use repellent on children under 2 months old. Instead dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs and cover crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
• Wearing shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors.
• Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
• Using bed nets when sleeping outdoors or in conditions with no window screens.
• Eliminating all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water once a week.

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