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State detects first mosquito-borne virus of 2022

Doctors say prevention is key to preventing bug bites.
Doctors say prevention is key to preventing bug bites.(WSAW)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 10:42 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WNEM) - Mosquito samples collected in Bay County have tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories.

According to the MDHHS, these infected pools are the first to be detected in 2022.

Preventing mosquito bites is key to protecting oneself from JCV and other mosquito-borne illnesses like Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV), the MDHHS said.

In 2021 JCV was responsible for the sickness of six Michiganders. During the same period, there were 46 cases of WNV - seven of which resulted in death - and one case of EEE, the MDHHS said.

While most people do not become ill, symptoms of JCV may present as fevers, headaches, and fatigue. In rarer cases, JVC causes disease in the brain and/or spinal cord, including encephalitis and meningitis.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause severe illness,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitos are present if possible, and wearing clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent bites.”

JCV can spread via mosquitos that become infected when they feed on deer or other animals that have the virus. Mosquitos then spread the virus further by biting other animals or people.

WNV and EEE spread when mosquitos contract the virus from biting infected birds, then biting humans, the MDHHS said.

The MDHHS recommends the following strategies to avoid mosquito-borne illness:

· Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to expose skin or clothing.

· Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and applying insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

· Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitos outside.

· Empty water from sights that may be popular breeding grounds for mosquitos around the home, such as buckets, kiddie pools, and old tires.