1st cases of West Nile virus confirmed in Oakland & Macomb County residents

West Nile virus symptoms are similar to COVID-19 at first, experts say
Posted at 12:41 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 12:41:21-04

(WXYZ) — The first cases of West Nile virus in the state have been detected in residents in Oakland and Macomb counties.

According to the state, mosquitoes collected in Detroit and Bay, Kent, Macomb, Midland, Oakland and Wayne counties have tested positive for West Nile virus and Jamestown Canyon virus.

The state also said a deer in Livingston County has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “As we head into the holiday weekend and beyond, we urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using insect repellant and wearing long-sleeve shirts and long pants when outdoors during those time periods.”

The virus is transmitted through mosquitoes. Most who contract it have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some do become sick 3-15 days after being bitten. Symptoms typically include high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and a severe headache.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

  • Using EPA registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol, and 2-undecanone; follow the product label instructions and reapply as directed.
    • Don’t use repellent on children under 2 months old. Instead dress your child in clothing that covers arms and legs and cover crib, stroller and baby carrier with mosquito netting.
  • Wearing shoes and socks, light-colored long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors.
  • Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
  • Using bed nets when sleeping outdoors or in conditions with no window screens.
  • Eliminating all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water once a week.

To date this year, the state said 22 mosquito samples, eight birds, one squirrel and one horse have tested for West Nile virus.