OAKLAND (WWJ) – The Oakland County Health Department is reminding residents about the dangers of West Nile Virus.
The Oakland County Health Department regularly tests pools of mosquitoes for West Nile Virus and last week they received their first positive test. Mark Hansel, chief of environmental health, isn’t trying to scare locals but wants those outside to be on alert of the virus’ dangers.
“You could wear protective clothing such as long sleeves or long pants, but one of the most important ways to help protect yourself is to use a repellent that has a registered active ingredient with the Environmental Protection Agency,” Hansel told WWJ.
The mosquito most commonly associated with the virus is most active in the early mornings and evenings, so it’s best to limit your outdoor activity during those times of the day.
Symptoms associated with West Nile Virus are fever, headache, and other aches or pains. The symptoms can last anywhere between a few days to a few weeks. If you experience any of these symptoms then you need to contact your doctor.
Hansel said the virus can effect anyone who’s been bitten but can have a greater impact on older people.
“Most people that are infected by West Nile Virus wouldn’t experience any symptoms what so ever,” Hansel said. “Those that are most (effected) are typically over the age of 50 but it can be present in all age groups.”
While rare, West Nile Virus can also be fatal. According to Medscape, one in 150 West Nile virus infections results in encephalitis or meningitis, and the mortality rate for persons with severe illness is 3 to 15 percent.