West Nile Virus Reported In Michigan, Marking First Case Of 2018

Mosquitos are tested in a lab.
David McNew / Getty Images

Residents of Michigan may be stunned to hear that the first case of West Nile this year was reported in their home state.

According to Click on Detroit, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced that mosquitoes collected from the Saginaw County area contained the West Nile virus. WXYZ shares that the samples that tested positive were collected last month. Health officials are urging residents to take caution this summer. With the warmer weather comes the risk of getting mosquito bites, which can sometimes lead to West Nile.

And there are a few people who are more at risk than others. People who work or spend a lot outdoors are at risk for catching the illness. More time spent outside means more chances to get bitten by a pesky mosquito. The riskiest times to be outside are dawn and dusk. Others who are at risk are those over the age of 60 as they pose a greater risk of severe illness following a bite.

“WNV cases have been reported in all of the continental United States. There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat WNV. Fortunately, most people infected with WNV do not have symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness,” the CDC shares.

West Nile is picked up after mosquitos feed on a bird that is infected with the virus. Though oftentimes there are no initial symptoms, victims usually get sick between three and 15 days after the bite occurs. Symptoms include:

  • high fever
  • confusion
  • muscle weakness

More serious complications could include neurological issues, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from contracting the deadly virus.

People are urged to wear only Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellents. They are also urged to wear shoes and socks as well as light-colored pants to help avoid getting bit. If you have a child, make sure that they wear clothing that covers their arms and legs. Additionally, you should remove wading water from your home as mosquitoes can breed in those areas.

Last year, 40 residents of Michigan were diagnosed with West Nile Virus with only one case resulting in death. A few other cases of West Nile have also been found across the country. ABC 13 reports that mosquitoes in Lucas County, Ohio, also tested positive. Additionally, Valley News Live shares that other cases were reported in the cities of Grand Forks and East Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Everyone remember to follow the tips and stay safe this summer!