Officials: West Nile virus found in Saginaw County - WNEM TV 5

Officials: West Nile virus found in Saginaw County

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Routine mosquito-borne disease surveillance conducted by the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission has detected the first evidence of West Nile Virus activity this summer.

Officials say a dead crow collected in the City of Saginaw tested positive for West Nile. They say this is the eleventh year since 2002 that WNV has been detected in Saginaw County. 

WNV monitoring will continue through the end of September by testing of mosquito samples and the collection of dead crows and blue jays.

SCMAC's disease surveillance programs will continue daily looking for increased disease transmission activity such as high percent infection rates in mosquitoes or numerous crow/blue jays deaths from a specific area or neighborhood.

Any areas in the county which have higher then normal levels of WNV activity will receive extensive control efforts to reduce adult and larval mosquito populations.

Citizens are encouraged to take appropriate measures to avoid mosquito bites and are strongly encouraged to contact the Commission's office at 755-5751 if they notice a crow or blue jay that has been dead for less than 24 hours.

West Nile virus 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 may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness.

Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. About one in 150 people suffer serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, which may result in death.

People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease. Currently the CDC has reported 5 human cases of WNV in the US including 1 death. Human WNV cases typical peak in August and early September.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito 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 or picaridin, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • 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, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water. Contact SCMAC to report stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, fields or similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

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