IONIA COUNTY, Mich. — Ionia County Health Department officials are offering a refresher on avoiding mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illness, as mosquito activity is on the rise in West Michigan.
Illnesses to watch out for include West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), according to a news release Friday.
Most people bitten by a West Nile Virus-infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness, the health department said, but some people develop mild flu-like symptoms that generally last a few days.
These symptoms include fever, fatigue, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and/or a body rash.
About one in 150 people infected with West Nile Virus will progress to a more severe infection, with people 50 and older more susceptible to severe illness.
EEE, meanwhile, is a rare disease in humans and most infected individuals will not have any apparent illness.
However, severe cases of EEE begin with the sudden onset of headache, high fever, chills and vomiting. The illness may then progress into disorientation, seizures or coma.
Ionia County health officials recommend Michigan residents take the following precautions to avoid mosquito bites in the spring, summer and fall months:
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites like blankets, unused kiddie pools and old tires. Anything that holds standing water should be emptied if possible – some mosquito species can breed in a bottle cap full of water.
- Apply an insect repellent that contains the active ingredient DEET to exposed skin or clothing, especially during peak mosquito activity periods such as dusk and dawn.
- If possible, stay indoors at dusk and dawn.
- Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.