First traces of West Nile virus detected in MI for 2017


The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources reports that the virus has been found in a turkey in Barry County and a crow in Kalamazoo County.

The virus is spread to people through mosquito bites.

The first detection of positive birds in the state this early into the year indicates a higher risk for human West Nile cases later in the summer, said Ned Walker, a researcher of mosquito-borne diseases at Michigan State University.

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A Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is seen on the skin of a human host in this 2014 picture from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus can also lead to more serious complications including neurological illnesses like meningitis and encephalitis.

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The three birds that were found with West Nile were found either sick or dead earlier this month. "Southern Nevada residents can take preventive measures against mosquito bites and simple steps to eliminate mosquito breeding sources around their homes to protect themselves, their families, and communities".

The best way to prevent West Nile encephalitis and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as using repellent with DEET and wearing long sleeves and trousers when spending time outdoors, the IDPH website suggests.

Drain standing water in your yard and neighborhood where mosquitoes can breed.

Replace any window and door screens that have holes or are not fitted properly. And MDHHS says that as temperatures rise, mosquitoes and the virus develop more quickly.

"Mosquito bites and the diseases spread by infected mosquitoes are preventable", Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer for the health district, said in a statement. Those species include crows, blue jays and ravens.