Oakland County Blood Donor Tests Positive For West Nile Virus

WWJ News
September 05, 2019 - 5:34 pm

Getty Images

(WWJ) A human case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Oakland County.

The case was discovered when the American Red Cross was testing blood donations, according to the Oakland County Health Division, which was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services about the infected person. 

The Red Cross routinely tests donated blood for a wide variety of infectious diseases, including mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile.

Officials say this the first blood donation in 2019 that has tested positive for West Nile Virus in Oakland County.

Details about the person, including age and hometown were not disclosed. 

Although temperature are cooling in metro Detroit, Oakland County Health Office Leigh-Anne Stafford offered residents a word of warning: 

“Mosquitoes are present until temperatures are consistently below 50 degrees. Continue to use insect repellent and take preventive measures to prevent disease and avoid mosquito bites.”

WNV is spread to humans through the bite of a mosquito which became infected when biting a bird. 

Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches, officials say.  However, in some individuals, 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 of West Nile Virus if they do get sick.

Michigan residents are urged to protect themselves and their families from West Nile Virus, eastern equine encephalitis (EEE), and other dangerous mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following steps:

  • 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 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. 

For more information about West Nile Virus, visit www.oakgov.com/health or call Nurse on Call at 800-848- 5533 on weekdays during regular business hours. 

MORE: Michigan Teen Hospitalized With Brain Swelling From Rare EEE Virus