First cases of West Nile Virus for 2017 found in MI

Kristen Gonzales
September 1, 2017

SAN BERNARDINO San Bernardino County Public Health officials announced Thursday the first West Nile Virus death of the 2017 season.

"The Ministry of Health emphasizes that all these cases, detected and registered in Romania, are sporadic cases and don't pose the risk of a large epidemic", reads the Ministry's press release.

In July, mosquitoes in the area served by the health unit tested positive for the virus, and early this month the EOHU confirmed the first human case of WNv in its jurisdiction.

Most of those infected with West Nile virus do not show symptoms, or experience only a mild illness which may include fever, headache, body ache, nausea, vomiting, or a rash on the chest, stomach or back. "The more time someone is outdoors, the more time the person is at risk of being bitten by an infected mosquito; that is why we encourage everyone to take all precautions against mosquito bites".

There is no vaccine for humans for mosquito-borne diseases, nor is there a specific treatment, according to the health department. MDARD has reported eight horses that have tested positive for WNV (Clinton, Jackson, Livingston, Missaukee, Mecosta, Midland, Ottawa, and Wexford Counties). Less than one percent of people infected develop a potentially fatal swelling of the brain, known as encephalitis.

Roumeliotis said it's important to take measures to reduce the mosquito population around your home and property, eliminating any potential pooling of free-standing water, ensuring no areas or items can collect or pool standing water in the garden or on the lawn.

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The statement also revealed that those people who are above 50 years of age and have a weak immune system are more prone to be infected by the West Nile Virus which can cause severe illness.

Health officials said residents should keep in mind to wear insect repellent and clothing covering the entire body to help prevent bites.

Prevention is common sense: avoid mosquito bites. Apply repellents only to exposed skin and/or clothing. Fix or replace screens with tears or holes.

Wear shoes, socks, long trousers, and a long-sleeved shirt when outdoors for long periods of time, or when mosquitoes are more active.

Be sure that window and door screens are tight fitting and in good fix.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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