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Michigan confirms first human mosquito-borne virus after Ottawa County resident tests positive

Posted at 6:17 AM, Jul 15, 2020

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Ottawa County Health Department has confirmed the state’s first human infection with a mosquito-borne virus of 2020. As of today, one Ottawa County resident has tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus.

The MDHHS will not release the name or any other information about the resident who tested positive to maintain confidentiality.

Jamestown Canyon virus is contracted via infected mosquito bites. The virus can be spread by various types of mosquitoes that can easily become infected when they feed on deer or other animals that have the virus in their blood. These infected mosquitoes then transfer the virus when they bite people.

Primary symptoms consists of fever, headache and fatigue. In rare cases, it can cause severe disease, and can lead to encephalitis or meningitis. Illness ensues from a few days to two weeks following initial mosquito bite. Late spring through mid-fall are high-risk seasons.

“During the warm weather months in Michigan, there is always a risk of viruses spread by mosquitoes, including but not limited to West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis.” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “This is an important reminder to stay vigilant and protect against mosquito bites throughout the summer and into the fall”.

Michigan reported its first two cases of Jamestown Canyon virus back in 2018 and 2019. The counties in which those cases arose were Oakland, Cass and Menominee counties.

Though the virus can be found throughout the United States, cases are steadily increasing in the upper Midwest region.

Residents can stay healthy by adhering to the following recommended steps:

· Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.

· Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

· Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.

· Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

For more information about the virus, click here.

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