LAPEER COUNTY, MI (Patch) — The first West Nile virus activity for Michigan in 2020 has been reported in a captive hawk from Lapeer County, state officials announced Friday.

Residents are reminded that the best way to protect themselves against West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, including Eastern Equine Encephalitis, is to prevent mosquito bites.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors.”

Symptoms of arbovirus infection, like West Nile Virus, typically include a high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and a severe headache. More serious complications include neurological illnesses, such as meningitis and encephalitis.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

  • Using EPA-registered insect repellents with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone; follow the product label instructions and reapply as directed.
  • Wearing shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors.
  • Making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
  • Using bed nets when sleeping outdoors or in conditions with no window screens.
  • Eliminating all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water once a week.
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