West Nile Virus Takes Life of Oakland County Woman

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed an 81-year-old woman from Oakland County died due to complications from West Nile Virus (WNV), the Oakland County Health Division announced today. She is the first human WNV-related death in Oakland County since 2003 and the first this year in Michigan.

“This is a tragic reminder of how severe West Nile Virus can be, especially for adults over 50 who are at greater risk for severe illness,” said George Miller, director of Oakland County Department of Health and Human Services. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves and family members from mosquitoes, even as we enter the fall season.”

west nile_SeniorsResidents, especially older adults, are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these instructions:

  • Use insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of insect repellents containing active ingredients registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Always follow manufacturer’s directions carefully.
  • Be careful using repellant on the hands of children because it may irritate their eyes and mouths.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes may be present such as shaded and wooded areas.
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.

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.

Last week, the Health Division announced the confirmation of two other human cases of WNV. Earlier this month, a blood donor tested positive for West Nile Virus in Oakland County and over the summer, a crow and mosquito pools also tested positive.

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

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at sarah@rochestermedia.com.

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