PONTIAC, Mich. – West Nile virus was detected in the first Oakland County mosquitoes tested in 2018, health officials said.
No confirmed human cases of the virus have been reported in Oakland County this year, but residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
"West Nile virus is typically detected from June through September," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Oakland County Health Division. "The best way to limit the spread of mosquito-borne diseases is preventing mosquito bites."
Here are some tips for prevention:
- Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellant. All EPA-registered insect repellants are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions.
- Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home:
- Turn over any type of container that can collect water. Once a week, empty out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpots, and trash containers.
- Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
- Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated, such as retention ponds or drainage ditches, with a mosquito larvicide. Mosquito larvicide is easy to use and can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
- Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts and pants.
- Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings. Do not prop open
West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes are infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. The virus is then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito.
Most people infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. In some individuals, however, a more serious disease causing inflammation and swelling of the brain can develop.
People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms.