West Nile Virus remains a risk in September

expired

Statewide, 23 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) and one death have been identified for 2013. One human case has been identified in Washtenaw County so far this year.

Last year, the hot and dry weather likely contributed to the huge increase in West Nile virus activity experienced across the country. Culex mosquito taking a blood mealThe summer of 2012 brought with it conditions favorable for the type of mosquitoes that are most likely to transmit West Nile Virus.  There were 5,387 human cases and 243 deaths in the United States.  Michigan had 202 human cases, with 17 deaths, and Washtenaw County had 4 human cases and one death.  Nationwide, this was the most cases and deaths from West Nile virus since 2003.

The Washtenaw County West Nile Virus Task Force is encouraginig municipalities and individuals to be prepared, and to take measures to reduce the spread of the virus. See the Press Release announcing the beginning of the West Nile virus monitoring season.

Mosquitoes need water in which to lay their eggs, so eliminate standing water around your home and yard.

  • Get rid of old tires, tin cans, buckets, drums, bottles or any water-holding containers. Fill in or drain any low places (puddles, ruts, etc.) in the yard. Keep drains, ditches and culverts free of weeds and trash so water will drain properly. Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use. Unused swimming pools should be drained and kept dry during the mosquito season. Change the water in pet dishes, horse troughs, birdbaths and plant pots or drip trays at least once each week.

Use personal protection measures to prevent mosquito bites.

  • Wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes and socks. Wear insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin (KBR 3023), or oil of lemon eucalyptus (p-menthane 3,8-diol or PMD). Whenever you use an insect repellent, be sure to read and follow the label directions! Spray clothing with repellent because mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Wash repellent off after coming back indoors.

  • August and September are the months of greatest risk to humans for becoming infected with WNV in Michigan.

High numbers of dead birds can indicate that the virus is active in a particular area, so report any dead birds you find.

 

For more information, as well as a chart of current virus activity, see the Washtenaw County West Nile virus page at http://westnile.ewashtenaw.org.  

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