Reporting Zahra Huber
LANSING (WWJ) – State health officials have confirmed a sixth West Nile Virus death in Michigan.
Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Community Health said a 75-year-old man died in Kent County, near Grand Rapids.
Minicuci said the number confirmed West Nile virus cases has risen to 105 in the state — the highest since the virus first appeared in Michigan in 2002.
“What we’ve seen is a really dry, warm summer, and this particular mosquito species that transmits West Nile does really well in this kind of climate,” Minicuci said.
Minicuci said the unusual weather also more difficult to predict how much longer they’ll see West Nile cases this year.
“We usually don’t see cases of West Nile until the end of August through September, but we had a much earlier season and a much higher season than we’re used to,” she said. “So, it’s really hard to predict where this is gonna go. A lot of it depends on the weather. Once it starts to cool down we’ll begin to see the mosquito population decline.”
Minicuci said they are working with local health departments and other community organizations to make people aware of the virus symptoms.
“But also we’re asking that people who begin to experience any kind of symptoms, go to the doctor. And if they notice that they’ve had a mosquito bite to mention that, because that’s something important, especially during this season, to bring up,” she said.
Minicuci said symptoms of West Nile include high fever, dizziness and drowsiness.
More information on West Nile including the latest from state health officials can be found at this link. Go under the ‘testing tables and maps’ link on the left to find an updated map and table of human cases.