OAKLAND COUNTY (WWJ) – Officials in Oakland County are making plans to trap mosquitoes that may be carrying the Zika virus.
Health Department Director George Miller says he doesn’t expect the mosquitoes to travel to Michigan, but it is possible they could hitch a ride in shipping containers.READ MORE: Son Fatally Shoots Mother While Driving On Woodward Near Royal Oak
“We know from West Nile virus that these mosquitos can come in shipments of produce, cargo, whatever the case may be, and so we don’t want to take any chances,” Miller told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “We’re going to start trapping for it to see if in fact we do come up with that type of mosquito.”
Miller said they’ll set the traps in June in common areas that are easily accessible.
“For the West Nile mosquito, you actually put the trap up in a tree because they typically live off the ground a little bit higher and you use dry ice to attract them into the trap,” he said. “With the Zika virus, it’s actually more of a low-lying mosquito and you trap them with a very stinky solution of fluids and a bunch of stuff that’s in it that attracts them to the trap.”
The county is also enlisting the help of residents to keep mosquito numbers in check.
“We’re having a meeting on March 4th for all our city, villages and township people, to let them know about our efforts and to elicit their cooperation in trying to control the mosquito population, whether it be West Nile or the Zika virus,” said Miller.
Meantime, county officials are awaiting results of tests on two pregnant women who recently returned from a trip to areas where there have been outbreaks of the Zika virus. Miller said the tests are a precaution.READ MORE: Wixom Man Charged In Shooting Death Of Father's Ex-Girlfriend
“That I know of right now that I can confirm are being tested are eight. And of those eight, six have come back as being negative for the Zika virus at this time,” he said. “I think I should point out that as more travelers that live in the Oakland County area, or any area for that matter in the United States, as they come back from countries that have been impacted by the Zika virus — especially if they think they’re pregnant — are probably going to be tested.”
There are no confirmed cases in Michigan.
According to the Center for Disease Control, there have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with the Zika virus while pregnant.
According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Zika virus was found for the first time in the Americas in May 2015. Currently, a large outbreak is ongoing in the region including South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and U.S. citizens travelling to these regions are at risk for infection.
There’s no vaccine for the virus, which primarily spreads through bites from a mosquito. Many people infected don’t get sick. Some experience mild illness with symptoms including fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes.MORE NEWS: Michigan Community Choosing To Help Each Other In Time Of Need After Flint Home Explosion