Human case of West Nile virus confirmed in Ottawa County

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. – The first human case of West Nile virus has been confirmed in Ottawa County.

An Ottawa County Health Department spokesperson made the announcement Friday afternoon.

A likely case of West Nile had been detected in a person in Allegan County earlier this week.  The Kent County Health Department reported the death of a resident from West Nile also earlier this week.

The virus is spread through bites from mosquitoes. Officials had previously announced a 400% increase in the number of Culex mosquitoes this season, which are the mosquito known to carry the virus. Officials have also warned that they expect higher numbers of human West Nile cases this season.

To prevent catching West Nile, you should take measures to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. You should apply insect repellant containing DEET and avoid being outside during the dawn and dusk hours when mosquito activity is highest.

Only about 20% of those who get infected with West Nile will notice any symptoms. Symptoms include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people fully recover, but for some, it can develop into a severe illness that affects the central nervous system.

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