First West Nile activity of 2017 detected in Mich.

Amos Gonzales
May 20, 2017

Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.

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West Nile virus is spread through the bites of infected mosquitoes that have acquired the virus by feeding on infected birds, according to the health district.

People are being warned to take steps to prevent mosquito bites, which can transmit the virus.

In some cases, the virus can cause severe neurologic illness and even death.

Mosquito pools for West Nile, St. Louis Encephalitis and Western Equine Encephalitis are regularly tested by the Southern Nevada Health District's Vector Surveillance Program. "We ask residents to contact us if they find sick or dead crows, blackbirds, owls or hawks, or any other bird exhibiting signs of illness". Symptoms include a high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and a severe headache.

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Last year, there were 43 serious illnesses in people and three deaths related to West Nile virus in Michigan, Eisner said. They will readily come inside to bite if windows and door screens are not covered.

"Mosquito bites and the diseases spread by infected mosquitoes are preventable", Dr. Joe Iser, chief health officer for the health district, said in a statement.

Eisner says the severity of the disease depends on the health and proliferation of the mosquito population and the National Weather Service is predicting the kind of summer that would be mosquito-friendly in MI.

As of May 1, the health department began accepting birds, such as crows, blue jays, grackle, starling, robin, cardinal, catbird, sparrow, finch, swallows, flay catchers, warblers and wrens.

"As with many wildlife diseases, vigilant observation and reporting from the public are critical in helping health and wildlife experts better understand and contain the transmission of West Nile Virus", Straka said in a statement.

Other reports by BadHub

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