State reports first West Nile virus activity of the year

Published: Jun. 5, 2020 at 11:15 AM EDT
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(6/5/2020) - State officials have reported the first West Nile virus activity in Michigan in 2020.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that the first detected West Nile virus activity is in a captive hawk from Lapeer County.

Last year, the stare reported that West Nile virus sickened 12 Michiganders, and 20 animals and birds.

Health officials are urging residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”

State health officials are also reminding people that the best way to protect themselves against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), is to prevent mosquito bites.

According to the state, in 2019, Michigan experienced the worst outbreak of EEE virus ever recorded. There was EEE activity reported in 20 Michigan counties, with 50 cases in animals and 10 people infected with EEE, including six deaths. To date, there has not been EEE detected in Michigan but the virus is typically detected later in the summer.

West Nile virus and EEE are transmitted through mosquito bites.