The first detection of West Nile virus for Michigan this summer has been identified in a mosquito pool from Saginaw County.
In a statement, the Michigan Department of Community Health urged people to apply repellents during peak mosquito biting periods -- dusk and dawn -- and to drain standing water around their homes.
Last year, the virus was responsible for 34 serious illnesses and two fatalities in Michigan. Nationally 2,469 WNV cases and 119 deaths were reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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West Nile can cause serious neurological illnesses, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Symptoms include a high fever, confusion, muscles weakness, and a severe headache.
"While everyone is at risk, adults who are 50 and older have the highest risk of illness caused by West Nile virus. Additionally, people who work in outdoor occupations like construction and landscaping are at increased risk of getting bitten by an infected mosquito," said Dr. Matthew Davis, chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Community Health. "One bite from an infected mosquito can lead to a severe and possibly life-altering illness. Prevention is the key to protection."
This past week, a mosquito pool collected in mid-June by the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission tested positive for West Nile at Michigan State University. Further, the mosquitoes that can transmit the virus are on the rise in Michigan, according to the state’s mosquito control districts.