West Nile virus found in mosquito pool in Warren

WARREN — Macomb County has had its first mosquito pool test positive for West Nile virus this year from a collection location in Warren.

The news from the county health department comes two days after the Oakland County Health Division was notified of a blood donor testing positive for the virus in Oakland County, the first blood donation this year that tested positive for West Nile virus in the state.

There has been one human case of the virus this year, reported in July in Livingston County, and the one blood donor testing positive in Oakland County, according to Jennifer Eisner, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She said there have been 24 birds infected in 16 counties and infected mosquito pools in Kent, Oakland, Saginaw and Wayne counties in addition to Macomb County.

Residents are asked to take precautions to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites, including using insect repellent that contains DEET or picaridin on clothing and exposed skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the use of oil of lemon eucalyptus as a more natural repellent, according to a release from Macomb County.

Residents should limit outdoor activities, wear pants and long sleeves and use repellent during the hours from dusk to dawn. Areas of standing water, such as buckets, flowerpots, barrels and kiddie pools, should be empty when not in use. Water in pet dishes and bird baths should be changed regularly and gutters should be free of standing water. Keeping window and door screens in good repair will help prevent mosquitoes from entering buildings.

The virus is transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes, with people either not having any symptoms or experiencing a mild illness such as body aches, fever and headache. A few people can develop more severe symptoms that could include encephalitis or meningitis, according to Macomb County officials. They said that those at greatest risk to develop a severe illness are people age 50 and older or those with certain medical conditions.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts, who has been aggressive in the effort to eradicate mosquitoes, said the city’s West Nile virus strategies have included “larvicidal briques” dropped into 17,500 catch basins in May and August. He said city residents can request pellets dropped into catch basins in their backyards. All city inspectors also are looking for standing water, which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes.

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Posted by Tribune News Services

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