PONTIAC (WWJ) – Health officials in Oakland County are warning the community after a crow tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Mosquito pools in Oakland County have also tested positive for the virus in recent weeks.

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“This is an important reminder that West Nile Virus is present in our community,” Kathy Forzley, a county health officer, said in a statement. “Many of us are spending time outdoors, especially with the upcoming holiday, and that increases our risk of exposure. Residents are reminded to follow key steps to protect themselves from illness.”

The best way to prevent infection is to minimize contact with mosquitoes by:

• Spraying clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of insect repellents containing two active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: DEET and Picaridin. Always follow manufacturer’s directions carefully, especially when using on children.

• Wearing protective clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt and pants and limiting outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

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• Avoiding areas where mosquitoes may be present (i.e. shaded and wooded areas).

• Maintaining window and door screening to keep mosquitoes out of buildings and homes.

No human cases of the virus have been confirmed in Oakland County this year.

WNV can cause inflammation and swelling of the brain. Mosquitoes are infected by biting a bird that carries the virus. WNV spreads to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with the virus either have no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.

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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.