3 human cases of West Nile Virus confirmed in Michigan

Human cases confirmed in Macomb, Monroe, Ottawa counties; blood donors test positive in Oakland, Wayne

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan health officials have identified the state's first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) for 2015 in Macomb, Monroe, and Ottawa counties.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services didn't release any more details on the patients or where they were diagnosed.

Two cases in Oakland and Wayne counties are not considered human cases. Two people -- one in each county -- donated blood to the American Red Cross and the blood tested positive for the virus. Those people did not show symptoms of the virus, they just had it in their blood.

"The American Red Cross consistently tests blood donations for a wide variety of infectious diseases. Recently, mosquito pools and a crow have also tested positive for WNV in Oakland County," the Oakland County Health Division said in a news release.

Statewide, 57 birds have tested positive for WNV so far this season, and 11 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected form Bay, Kent, Oakland, Saginaw, and Wayne counties. 

Related story: Crow in Oakland County tests positive for West Nile Virus

"We have clear evidence that West Nile virus is present in the state again this summer," says Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  "Even late in the season, remembering to take a few minutes to protect ourselves and our loved ones from mosquito bites when outside can make a big difference."

For the most current information on mosquito-borne virus activity in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Peak mosquito biting hours are between dusk and dawn. 

Most people bitten by a WNV infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever. About one in 150 infected people will become severely ill. 

Symptoms of WNV include: encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.