SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Oakland County has confirmed its first human case of West Nile Virus this summer. According to the county’s health division, a 44-year-old man was hospitalized earlier this month, and is now at home recovering.
Chief Oakland County health officer Kathy Forzley told WWJ Newsradio 950 that this is an important reminder that West Nile virus is present in the community.
“It’s important to know that normal this is a mild illness, but sometimes it does result in a severe illness — severe enough for someone to be hospitalized,” Forzley said, adding that the elderly are particularly at risk.
Due to an unusually warm and dry spring and summer, mosquitoes that can transmit West Nile hatched early and are on the rise in Michigan, according to the state’s mosquito control districts.
Forzley said Oakland County normally gets a handful of West Nile cases every summer. And, with more of us spending time outdoors, it’s important to limit exposure to mosquitoes.
She said wearing insect repellent is always a good idea, and that residents should make sure they don’t have standing water around their homes.
“Take a look around your back yard … and see where you could eliminate that. For instance, in a pail, a water can that’s sitting there with some standing water in it, a rain gutter, those kinds of things,” she said,.
Symptoms of West Nile may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, fever, headache, lack of appetite, muscle aches, nausea, rash, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes or vomiting.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their doctor.
Last year, West Nile was responsible for 34 serious illnesses and two fatalities in Michigan.