Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division is urging individuals to take common-sense precautions over the Fourth of July holiday to minimize mosquito exposure and protect themselves from West Nile Virus (WNV) after the virus was identified in two Michigan counties this week.
According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, a WNV positive mosquito pool was identified in Saginaw County. In addition, a wild turkey displaying signs of illness in Washtenaw County tested positive for WNV.
"We stress prevention to avoid mosquito bites during outdoor events such as picnics, concerts, fairs and other outdoor activities this Fourth of July holiday," said Kathy Forzley, manager of Oakland County Health Division. "The hot, dry weather we are experiencing produces conditions that are favorable to WNV being transmitted. Residents are urged to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to reduce mosquito breeding sites around the home."
The following prevention measures help reduce the mosquito population and the risk of mosquito-borne disease:
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home. Empty standing water from: flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs. For a list of other nonchemical mosquito control suggestions visit the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues website at:
- Use insect repellent that contains an active ingredient approved by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carefully follow manufacturers instructions, especially when using these products on or around children. Visit the EPA website at: www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/ai_insectrp.htm
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Report a sick or dead bird, or mammal, at the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues webpage at: www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases. Select West Nile Virus, then How to Report a Dead Bird or Mammal.
Mosquitoes can be infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. However, in some individuals, mostly the elderly, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.
For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health
or call 877-377-3641.
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, Manager/Health Officer, Oakland County Health Division at 248-858-1410.