(CBS DETROIT) – Cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been detected in animal and mosquito populations in Michigan again.

This emphasizes the importance of people taking precautions to keep themselves and their animals safe from mosquito-borne illnesses.

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Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to humans and animals, and the disease is typically a concern in Michigan every year in the summer and early fall.

The first case of WNV for 2021 in a 28-year-old Quarter Horse mare from Midland County, The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) confirmed.

The horse became ill with a sudden onset of neurologic disease on July 15 and was humanely euthanized.

The MDARD reported that the horse was under-vaccinated against WNV.

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“With the discovery of WNV in a Michigan horse, this signals that the virus is circulating again in the state,” said State Veterinarian Nora Wineland, DVM, in a news release. “Its presence underscores the need to take all the necessary steps to protect animals from this disease.”

This year the West Nile virus has also been identified in five wild birds from four Michigan counties (Berrien, Calhoun [2], Cass, and Ingham) and three mosquito pools from three counties: Calhoun, Kent, and Oakland.

“We urge Michiganders to continuously take precautions to protect themselves (in addition to their pets and livestock) against mosquitoes. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS, in a news release. “Steps like using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present (if possible), and wearing clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent bites can help.”

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