Oakland County Blood Donor Tests Positive for West Nile Virus

Oakland County Health Division was notified by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of a blood donor testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in Oakland County. The American Red Cross consistently tests blood donations for a wide variety of infectious diseases, including West Nile Virus. This is the first blood donation in 2016 that has tested positive for West Nile Virus in Michigan.

“We know that West Nile Virus is in our community, so it is important that everyone protect themselves from mosquito bites – especially those 50 and older who are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms.” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division health officer.

The best way to avoid WNV infection is to prevent mosquito bites:

  • Spray clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends use of insect repellents containing DEET and Picaridin. Always follow manufacturer’s directions carefully, especially when using on children.
  • Minimize activities where mosquitoes are present such as shaded and wooded areas.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  • Eliminate standing water in your yard. Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs.

The first human case of WNV this year was reported in Livingston County. Additionally, mosquito pools have tested positive for WNV in Oakland County, and other locations throughout the state.

WNV is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito. The risk of serious illness for most people is low. Some individuals, however, can develop a serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. Those who are 50 years old or older have a greater chance of getting sick and developing complications.  Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health or find Public Health Oakland on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.


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