Educate and protect yourself against West Nile Virus

Oakland County Health Division (OCHD), under the leadership of L. Brooks Patterson, is urging individuals to take precautions to minimize mosquito exposure and protect themselves from West Nile Virus (WNV) after the virus was identified in a bird in Oakland County.

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According to the Michigan Department of Community Health, this is the first species testing positive for WNV in Oakland County. As of August 15, 2014, there are no human cases of WNV in the state of Michigan or Oakland County.

“As the end of summer approaches, mosquitoes are older and more likely to carry WNV. We stress prevention to avoid mosquito bites when attending picnics, concerts, fairs and other outdoor activities,” said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager / health officer. “The last weeks of summer are a great time to enjoy the outdoors, but we want residents to remember to take some simple precautions to prevent West Nile Virus.”

Follow these prevention measures to reduce the mosquito population and the risk of mosquito borne disease:

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or other EPA- approved active ingredient to skin or clothing following manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes when outdoors.
  • Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites around your home. Empty standing water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs.

Mosquitoes can be infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, in some individuals, mostly the elderly, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop.

Find more information by visiting or find Public Health Oakland on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

About Sarah Hovis

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