Three people have now been confirmed to have tested positive for West Nile Virus in two counties in Michigan, as of Thursday morning.
From Sept. 15 to Sept. 21, reports from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services indicate the confirmation of seven persons with West Nile Virus infection in the state. Which is higher than the cases reported since 2018.
Health officers from the Ottawa County Department of Health confirmed that there have been no death cases, as the two residents who tested positive in the county are currently hospitalized.
According to the officials, the residents had no prior traveling history, thus they were likely to have contracted the virus via a mosquito bite in West Michigan.
Kent County reported its first case of West Nile Virus on Thursday. The infected resident is currently in hospital, as confirmed by the Kent County Health Department.
The Health officers reported that similar to the cases in Ottawa County, the resident had no history of traveling out of the county, which implies the virus was likely contracted from an infected mosquito in the 49507 zip code.
They encouraged residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites as much as possible, as the change in weather continues in the upcoming weeks. Assuming this, Adam London from the Kent County Health Department said, “It continues to be important that people take measures to protect themselves from getting mosquito bite.”
The Health Department strongly recommends protective measures including applying insect repellent outdoors, proper sanitation, and avoiding outdoor activities at night. According to them, symptoms rarely show in infected persons and such persons might be unaware of being infected. This is why there is a need for more awareness and knowledge about West Nile Virus and its possible symptoms.
Facts To Know About West Nile Virus
West Nile Virus causes West Nile Fever, a seasonal disease transmitted via bite from an infected mosquito or bird. Reported cases usually arise during the summer to fall period, thousands of cases have been reported in the US since 1999.
Some symptoms to look out for are high fever, weakness in the body, rash, and diarrhea. For cases tagged as severe, the virus can result in inflammation in the brain or meningitis. Which is usually related to seizure, paralysis, or stiffness in the neck. Recovery time usually takes several weeks in most cases. Only 10 percent of people die from severe symptoms like coma, high fever, and encephalitis.
There is no present vaccine for preventing the virus and infected persons rarely show symptoms. However, in some rare cases, an infected person may develop a fever or a fatal illness like meningitis. As per the case reported in 2017 in Ottawa County.
Prevention is the most recommended measure for preventing transmission of West Nile Virus. The commonest way to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes using mosquito repellents with high DEET content on clothes and body. Also covering the body while outside, using window and door screens at home, and removing water waste from surroundings.
Presently, there is no available medication for treating the virus. People above 60 years of age with complications have high odds of contracting it. When infected, individuals are placed on bed rest, or prescribed pain medications that reduce the symptoms. Those suffering from severe symptoms may require hospitalization and therapy afterward.
If you live in Michigan, avoiding contact with mosquitoes or infected birds is the safest way to prevent this transmission. You can learn more about the virus here
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