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Risk of West Nile Virus Infection Still Present

Public Date: 10/1/2013 12:00 AM
Contact: Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer, Oakland County Health Division
Phone Number: 248-858-1410

 

West Nile Virus

Pontiac, Michigan -- Fall is officially here and even with nighttime temperatures falling, mosquitoes are still present and active in our environment. Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, reminds residents that these mosquitoes may be biting for the next few weeks and can still transmit West Nile Virus (WNV). 

As of Monday, September 30, there are 28 confirmed human WNV cases, including one death this year in Michigan. OCHD has received reports of four human cases of WNV in Oakland County, so far in 2013.

“Mosquitoes that transmit WNV may move indoors to escape the cooler nighttime temperatures” stated Kathy Forzley, OCHD Manager/Health Officer. “Residents should continue to use insect repellent when outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active. In addition, they should repair door and window screens to stop mosquitoes from entering their home.”

Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid WNV and other mosquito borne illnesses: 

  • Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Avoid shady and wooded areas during daytime hours.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or other EPA approved repellent to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Most people bitten by a WNV infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever. About one in 150 infected people will become severely ill. Symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.

People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke in the summer months.

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health. You can also find up-to-date public health information on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer, Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1410.