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West Nile Virus detected in Saginaw County mosquit

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    Posted: June 11 2018 at 4:09pm

West Nile Virus detected in Saginaw County mosquitoes

Updated ; Posted

SAGINAW, MI --  A case of West Nile Virus was detected in mosquitoes in Saginaw County for the first time this year.

The virus was found in late May in a suburban area of Saginaw County, said Bill Stanuszek, director of Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission. An exact location of where the virus is detected is only released by the agency when there's an elevated risk of the virus, Stanuszek said.

The mosquito commission plans to use a disease surveillance programs to keep an eye on the virus. Specifically, crews will be looking for crow and blue jay deaths caused by mosquitos carrying West Nile.

West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who contract the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some could become sick three to 15 days after contracting it.

Last year, there were 29 cases of the virus detected in mosquitoes in Saginaw County, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Service. Statewide, the biggest cluster of cases was found in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

There were 86 cases reported in Tuscola County, followed by Bay County (17), Ingham County (8) and Midland County (1).

Stanuszek expects less than 10 cases in Saginaw County this year.

Only about one in five people who are bitten by an infected mosquito experience any illness, officials said. Symptoms are usually mild and include fever, headache, and body aches. About 150 people suffer more serious illnesses, like encephalitis and meningitis, which could result in death.

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

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535, according to label instructions.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, neglected swimming pools, wading pools, old tires, and any other object holding water.
Residents are asked to contact Saginaw County Mosquito Control Contact at 989-755-5751 to report stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards or fields, or if the find any dead crows or blue jays.
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