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Summer weather is back and so is the risk of getting the West Nile virus

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Jun 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-05 10:36:55-04

LANSING, Mich.  — Summer weather is headed our way, and with it comes mosquitoes and with that can come the West Nile virus.

According to the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, the illness is most commonly caused by mosquito bites. Those who work or play outside are at the greatest risk.

About 70 to 80 percent of people who have been exposed to the virus do not get sick. When symptoms do occur they appear three to 15 days after becoming infected from a mosquito bite, according to the health department.

Symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, headache, body aches and sometimes skin rash and/or swollen glands.

In some cases the health department said the virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal or cause permanent damage.

Here are some preventative ways from the Barry-Eaton District Health Department to help lower the risk of contracting the virus:

• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. Visit https://www.epa.gov/insect-repellents/find-repellent-right-you to see what repellents are EPA registered.

• Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. Dress children in long sleeved clothing as well.

• Use mosquito netting over strollers, cribs, beds, and when sleeping outside.

• Install screens or repair holes in screens around one’s home to keep mosquitoes outside.

• Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, tightly cover, or throw out items that hold water, such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, or trash containers. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water. If you have a septic tank, be sure to repair cracks or gaps.

•Indoor and outdoor sprays to kill mosquitoes are also available. If used, be sure to follow instructions carefully.

Dying or dead birds may indicate West Nile virus in your community as they are carriers of the virus. If you see a dying or dead bird, you can report it to https://secure1.state.mi.us/ORS/Survey/4.

For more information on the West Nile virus, you can visit the Center for Disease Control website here, or the Barry-Eaton District Health Department’s website here.

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