West Nile on the rise

By Krystle Wagner

Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.


Sept. 11–OTTAWA COUNTY — Officials are encouraging residents to continue precautions against the West Nile virus.

Throughout Michigan and the country, reported cases of the virus remain on the rise.

As of Sept. 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,993 cases and 87 deaths related to the virus. As of Sept. 7, the Michigan Department of Community Health reported 129 cases and six deaths in the state.

One case has been reported in Ottawa County, one case in Muskegon County, and 28 cases and two deaths in Kent County.

State Department of Community Health spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said they expect to add to the number of reported cases today.

West Nile is spread after a mosquito bites an infected host, and then bites a human or animal. Minicuci said it’s the peak of mosquito season and, until temperatures dip, cases of West Nile will still appear.

Although the number of cases is on the rise, Minicuci said the state isn’t taking action to prevent outbreaks.

“That’s a decision to be made at a local level,” she said.

Shannon Felgner, spokeswoman for the Ottawa County Health Department, said the county’s worst year for reported cases was 12 in 2002.

She said the county isn’t taking extreme measures to reduce the chance of the virus in the area because the reported cases are in more urban populations than Ottawa County.

“The biggest thing in Ottawa County (is) reiterating the prevention that’s out there,” Felgner said.

Prevention Tips:

– Drain any standing water; i.e.: buckets, children’s pool, gutters

– Use insect repellant with DEET

– Avoid going outside near dawn and dusk

– Make sure house screens are secure with no holes

– Wear long sleeves and pants when possible



Posted by Tribune News Services

Leave a Reply