Fighting West Nile virus at home in Metro Detroit

Homeowners advised to check window screens to help prevent mosquitoes from entering

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DETROIT - The West Nile virus has been spreading through the Metro Detroit area.

This year, health experts have a warning for homeowners, telling them to do more to keep mosquitoes out of your homes.

Here's why: The culex mosquito, which is the sole carrier of West Nile in Michigan, is good at sneaking into your home at night, looking for someone to bite. Wayman Ezell of Detroit noticed a problem in his front door, where the screen was pulling away from the door.

"I just noticed that this is pulled away, and of course, we open this- and that allows creatures to get in. So, I'm going to have to get this restrung," he told Ruth to the Rescue.

Virus hits close to home

He says he'll be getting his screen fixed quickly. West Nile has hit close to home for him, he knows someone who is sick with the virus.

"I just found out about the condition the other day and I was really taken aback by it," said Wayman Ezell.

Revise your 'to do' list

Because of the threat, it's probably a good time to go through your house, looking for places where the bugs can get in. Those tiny hole or tears in your window screens are a prime path for the bugs to get into your home, and threaten your family.

If the most minor home repairs intimidate you, don't be alarmed! Hardware stores like the True Value in Detroit can get the job done for you.

We spoke to Milton McLead at the store on Gratiot. He's worked there for 13 years, and says he can get a screen repaired in about 15 minutes.

He told Ruth to the Rescue the price ranges from $12.99 to $19.99. "That will get you a brand new screen in there. Nice and tight, and be good for the rest of the summer," McLead added.

He says the store does get busy this time of year, "You know august, July, September- it's usually when the bugs are biting."

McLead says if you're the "Do It Yourself" type, you can buy new screen for about a $1.50 a foot. You'll need the right tools for installation: a screwdriver, clamps to hold the screen in place, a spline roller, and a box cutter. If you need to buy all of those items- it should cost around $20.

So, check those screens and get any repairs you need. Also, remember to keep doors and windows close as much as possible. Do whatever you can to keep the mosquitoes out of your home to avoid an increased risk of contracting West Nile Virus.

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