Pontiac, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division, under the leadership of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, urges individuals to take simple precautions to minimize mosquito exposure and protect themselves from West Nile Virus (WNV) and other mosquito-borne diseases.
"Avoiding mosquito bites by following precautions such as using insect repellent during outdoor events such as picnics, concerts, fairs, fireworks and other holiday celebrations is the best prevention against West Nile Virus," said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager. "In addition, residents should eliminate mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water in containers around their property every three to four days. Mosquitoes can develop from egg to biting adult in 10 ten days or less."
The following prevention measures will help to reduce the mosquito population and risk of mosquito-borne disease:
- Use insect repellent that contains an active ingredient approved by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions, especially when using these products on or around children. Visit the EPA website at: www.epa.gov/pesticides/health/mosquitoes/ai_insectrp.htm
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- 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: www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186-25805_25824-75796--,00.html
- 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.
The virus can be spread to humans through the bite of an 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 more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.
As of July 1, 2013, the Michigan Department of Community Health reports no human cases of WNV being identified to date. Two WNV positive birds have been identified in Saginaw County, and a WNV positive wild turkey was identified in Gratiot County.
For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health
For media inquiries only, contact George Miller, Director, Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services, at 248-858-1293.