LANSING (WWJ/AP) - Health officials say they’ve identified West Nile virus in two Michigan counties, the earliest such detection in several years as weather conditions encourage the presence of mosquitoes.
The Michigan Department of Community Health announced Tuesday a mosquito pool sample collected in mid-June by Saginaw County officials tested positive for the virus. Officials at Michigan State University confirmed the virus.
A wild turkey from Washtenaw County that was submitted to the Department of Natural Resources also tested positive.
No human cases have been confirmed this year.
West Nile Virus is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes that affects humans and other animals. The virus causes flu-like symptoms in humans.
The health department says the virus could present a risk to human health since it’s circulating in mosquitoes and birds. Officials are urging people to take steps to avoid mosquito bites.
The department says an unusually warm spring encouraged the early hatching of mosquitoes.
Cases of West Nile Virus have been discovered in Michigan every year since the disease first made an appearance in the state in 2001.
Some prevention measures to reduce the mosquito population and mosquito-borne disease include:
- Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home. Empty standing water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs. For a list of other non-chemical mosquito control suggestions, visit the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues website.
- Use an insect repellent that contains an active ingredient approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Carefully follow manufacturer’s instructions, especially when using these products on or around children. More information can be found on the EPA website.
- Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
- Wear long-sleeve shirts, long pants, socks and shoes when outdoors.
- Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
Find more information at www.michigan.gov/westnile.
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