West Nile Virus found in blue jay that died in Bay City

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BAY COUNTY (WJRT) (7/12/2019) - The first signs of West Nile Virus has been detected in Saginaw County.

Bay County Mosquito Control found clear signs of the virus in a blue jay that was found dead in Bay City. It was the first direct evidence of West Nile in the county this year.

The virus has been detected in Bay County for 17 straight years. The county is launching extensive mosquito control efforts in the area where the infected bird was found, targeting live bugs and their larvae.

“As our program is responding with increased surveillance and control efforts throughout the area, residents are strongly encouraged to take appropriate measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites,” said Bay County Mosquito Control Manager Rebecca Brandt.

No human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported anywhere in Michigan so far this year. Routine sampling and monitoring for mosquito-borne illness will continue through September.

Bay County residents are asked to report any dead crows or blue jays to the mosquito abatement commission by calling 989-894-4555 as soon as possible.

West Nile is transmitted to humans through a mosquito bite, but most people won't notice any symptoms. Hospitalization for a flu-like illness, fever, meningitis or encephalitis are required in very rare cases.

The mosquito control department offers the following tips to avoid bites that may transmit illnesses:

-- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

-- When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

-- Apply an insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants. Only use products that are registered by
the Environmental Protection Agency.

-- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

-- Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, neglected swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water.