Four Cases of West Nile Confirmed in Michigan

The first case of the West Nile virus for 2017 has been confirmed in the state.

Four cases of WNV have been confirmed – two patients are in Montcalm County, one from Oakland County and another in Macomb County.

Their illness onsets range from August 6th to 11th and all have been hospitalized with neurologic disease.

Surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases is being conducted by the MDHHS, the DNR, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

In 2017, WNV activity appears to be widespread statewide in Michigan. In addition to the four human cases, five Michigan blood donors have had WNV detected in their blood.

Most people who become infected with WNV will not develop any symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure and about one-in-five infected will have mild illness with fever, while about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.

To date, 148 birds have tested positive for WNV from 44 of Michigan’s 83 counties along with horses in eight counties, including Missaukee, Mecosta, and Wexford.

One horse in Wexford County also tested positive for the eastern equine encephalitis virus.

The MDHHS says vaccination is the best way to protect horses from both WNV and EEE.

Below are several tips that you can use to help yourself and your family avoid mosquito borne diseases.

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

For more information and surveillance activity about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

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