West Nile Virus - What You Need to Know
Oakland County, Michigan -- Oakland County Health Division, under the leadership of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, urges individuals to take precautions to minimize mosquito exposure and protect themselves from West Nile Virus (WNV) this Labor Day weekend. The Michigan Department of Community Health recently identified the first bird in Oakland County to test positive for WNV in 2013.
"As the end of summer approaches, mosquitoes are older and more likely to carry the West Nile Virus, said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager and health officer. “We stress prevention to avoid mosquito bites when attending picnics, concerts, fairs and other outdoor activities. It just takes a few simple precautions.”
Follow these prevention measures to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of mosquito borne disease:
- Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or other EPA-approved active ingredient to skin or clothing following manufacturer’s instructions.
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
- Wear long-sleeved 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.
- 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:
- 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. In some individuals, however, mostly the elderly, a more serious disease affecting the brain tissue may develop.
As of August 23, 2013, six human cases of WNV have been identified statewide.
For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health or call the WNV Hotline at 877-377-3641. For more public health information, follow the Health Division on Facebook and Twitter: @publichealthOC.
For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.