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Department of Health and Community Services

Contact: Roneeka Pleasant-Brown

Phone: 586-469-5905



June 25, 2019

Macomb County Health Department reminds residents to protect themselves from the West Nile virus

The first West Nile virus activity for Michigan in 2019 has been confirmed in mosquitoes recently collected in Saginaw and Oakland counties and in a Canadian Goose in Kalamazoo County. Although there have been no confirmed cases of any person(s) being infected with the virus in 2019, the Macomb County Health Department would like to remind residents of the importance of protecting themselves during their time outdoors.

West Nile is a virus most commonly spread to people by mosquito bites. In North America, cases of West Nile virus occur during mosquito season, which starts in the summer and continues through fall. People who work in outdoor occupations or spend time outdoors often are at an increased risk for West Nile virus infection from mosquito bites.

The most effective way to avoid being infected by the West Nile virus is to prevent mosquito bites. The following steps are recommended for residents to use:

  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET to exposed skin and clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding around your home, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water once a week.
  • Wear light colored, long sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

“It is very important to stay vigilant and protected against mosquito bites throughout the summer and fall seasons,” said Bill Ridella, health officer of the Macomb County Health Department. "All residents need to take action to prevent bites by using appropriate mosquito repellent and take extra precaution during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are at dusk and dawn."

There are no vaccines to prevent or medications to treat the West Nile virus in people. Most people who become infected with the virus will not develop any symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure. Mild symptoms of illness may include headache, body aches, joint pain or a rash.

Some severe symptoms of the West Nile Virus may include stiff neck, disorientation, tremors and muscle weakness. Adults 60-years-old and older have the highest risk of severe illness caused by West Nile virus. If you would like to learn more about the West Nile virus, please visit Programs-EnvironmentalHealth-Safety-WestNileVirus for more information and additional resources.


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