After a brutal winter, Michiganians have another battle on their hands: West Nile Virus has been detected in mosquitoes in at least one county, though there’s no indication that anyone has been sickened.
Last year, the West Nile Virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, killed two people and caused serious illnesses in more than 30 people. Nationally last year, the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 2,469 cases of the virus and 199 deaths last year, The Detroit News reports.
Heavy snowfall last winter created ideal conditions for a bumper mosquito population this year, experts warned earlier in the season. Melting snow left pools of water in low-lying places giving mosquitos the opportunity to breed and carry the virus.
The virus can cause neurological illnesses such as meningitis. Symptoms include high fever, severe headaches and muscle weakness.
To prevent West Nile, the CDC suggests using mosquito repellents, and wearing long socks, pants and sleeves when the weather permits. Other preventative measures include protective screens, staying inside in the air conditioning, and emptying containers of and eliminting standing water.
”With West Nile virus, it can lead to some serious long-term neurological effects, and because of that, we want to make sure we get ahead of it,” Michigan Department of Community Health spokeswoman Angela Minicuci said last month. “There is no treatment for it, so essentially what we do is try and get rid of the symptoms of it.”