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West Nile Virus Confirmed In Oakland County

June 15, 2019 - 2:32 pm

PONTIAC (WWJ) - For the first time this year, a mosquito infected with West Nile virus has been detected in Oakland County.

The Oakland County Heath Department says it was detected in a mosquito pool in Pontiac. No confirmed human cases have occurred in Oakland County so far this year, but residents are urged to protect themselves from the threat of West Nile virus by taking necessary precautions.

"Although the positive pool was found in Pontiac, this is an indicator that West Nile Virus is present in Oakland County communities," Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division, said in a statement. "Residents are encouraged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites."

Follow these prevention tips:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency registered insect repellent. All EPA-registered insect repellents 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.
  • 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 doors.

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 who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. 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.