Michigan’s first human cases of West Nile Virus for 2021 confirmed in Detroit area
Residents of Macomb and Oakland counties have confirmed West Nile illnesses
LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Residents of Macomb and Oakland counties have been confirmed as Michigan’s first human cases of West Nile Virus in 2021.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced the illnesses on Friday. In addition, a deer in Livingston County was confirmed as the state’s first animal case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
Both illnesses are transmitted by bites from infected mosquitoes. The risk for mosquito-borne illness increases through mosquito season, peaking in August and September.
Mosquitoes collected in Bay, Kent, Macomb, Midland, Oakland and Wayne counties over the past week have tested positive for West Nile Virus or Jamestown Canyon virus. Michigan’s total for 2021 includes 22 mosquito samples, eight birds, one squirrel and one horse with the virus.
“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, Michigan’s chief medical executive. “As we head into the holiday weekend and beyond, we urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using insect repellant and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors during those time periods.”
Most people infected with West Nile Virus never get symptoms of the illness, but some experience a fever, headache and fatigue. The illnesses rarely can cause serious neurological symptoms or death.
Michigan health officials recommend the following steps to avoid contracting a mosquito-borne illness:
- Apply a repellant containing DEET or another EPA-approved product to exposed skin and clothing.
- Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants while outdoors.
- Repair any holes in door or window screens to prevent mosquitoes from getting inside.
- Empty standing water around the home in buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires and more.
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