First signs of West Nile appear in Michigan

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LANSING, Mich. – The first signs of West Nile virus has appeared in Michigan for 2015.

Three nestling crows collected in Ingham County showed the first activity of the year, according to the Michigan Department of Health.  The birds were found dead in early June.

West Nile virus can cause serious neurological illnesses like meningitis and encephalitis.  In 2014, there were 2,205 human cases of West Nile nationally and 97 deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  They advise that, if you haven’t already, start using insect repellents during peak mosquito biting periods such as dusk and dawn and to drain standing water from around your homes.

“While everyone should take steps to protect themselves, adults who are 50 and older have the highest risk of illness caused by West Nile virus,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS. “Additionally, people who work in outdoor occupations like construction and landscaping are at increased risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito. One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to a severe and possibly life-altering illness. Prevention is the key to protection.”

The mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus are often referred to as the ‘house mosquito’ and may breed near people’s homes in storm drains, shallow ditches, retention ponds, and unused pools.

For information about West Nile virus activity in Michigan and to report sick or dead birds, visit www.michigan.gov/westnile.  Additional information can be found at www.cdc.gov/westnile.

 

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