PONTIAC (WWJ) – Beware of infected mosquitoes.

Health officials have issued an alert after a mosquito pool testing positive for West Nile Virus was found in a trap set in southeast Oakland County.

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This was the season’s first positive test in Oakland County, according to health division officials.

As in previous years, they say, the late summer months have shown an increase in mosquitoes testing positive for the WNV. Oakland County residents are urged to protect themselves from the threat of WNV by taking necessary precautions.

The season’s first case of the West Nile Virus in Michigan was detected in crows in Ingham County in June.

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“Although no human cases of the virus have been confirmed in Oakland County this year, residents are urged to be cautious when spending time outdoors,” said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division manager/health officer, in a media release. “The most effective way to protect yourself and your family against West Nile Virus is to take precautions against mosquito bites.”

Mosquitoes can be infected with the West Nile Virus by biting a bird that carries the virus, health officials say. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. In some individuals, however — mostly the elderly — a more serious disease affecting the brain tissue may develop.

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Health officials recommend these tips to prevent a mosquito bite:

  • Spray clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends use of insect repellents containing active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Two products registered with the EPA that have shown a high degree of effectiveness are DEET and Picaridin. Always follow manufacturer’s directions carefully, especially when using on children.
  • Minimize activities where mosquitoes are present, such as shaded areas.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants outdoors.
  • Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  • Eliminate standing water in your yard. Empty water from mosquito breeding sites, such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs.
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For information about West Nile virus activity in Michigan and to report sick or dead birds, visit www.michigan.gov/westnile. Michigan residents can report a single dead bird at this link or call 517-336-5030 to report three or more dead birds.