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It's mosquito season - take steps to prevent West Nile Virus

West Nile virus (WNV) is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause mild illness (West Nile fever) or severe symptoms (encephalitis or meningitis - an inflammation of the brain) in humans and other animals. People primarily get West Nile from the bite of a mosquito that is infected with WNV.


Culex mosquito taking a blood meal

Washtenaw County Public Health is again encouraging individuals and municipalities to be prepared, and to take measures to reduce the spread of West Nile virus.

We will also be partnering with the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) to trap and test mosquitoes at five locations throughout Washtenaw County over this summer.  Any positive results will be reported on our website: http://westnile.ewashtenaw.org.

Follow these tips to keep yourself and your family safe, and to help us Fight the Bite!

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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