LANSING (WWJ) – Two more deaths have been linked to the West Nile Virus in Michigan. The State Health Department reports an 87-year old man died from the virus in Macomb County and 65-year old man died in Ogemaw County in northern Michigan.
Their names and hometowns have not been released.
That brings Michigan to a total of eight deaths and 160 total cases this year — the highest since the virus first appeared in Michigan in 2002.
In addition, more and more people have been found to be carrying the virus.
“There are a total 33 blood donors reported to date that have been identified as carrying West Nile,” said Angela Minicuci with the Michigan Department of Community Health. “They went to donate blood, they weren’t showing any symptoms and then later when their blood was screened, before it was added to the blood supply they tested positive for West Nile.”
She stressed that blood donations infected with the West Nile Virus carriers did not go into the system.
Minicuci attributes this year’s West Nile spike, at least in part, to the hot, dry summer that created an ideal environment for mosquitoes, which transmit the virus.
She said symptoms of West Nile include high fever, dizziness and drowsiness and can feel like the flu. Minicuci urges anyone experiencing these symptoms to see a doctor and make sure they point out any mosquito bites.
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.