Health officials urge caution after West Nile Virus spotted in Pontiac. No confirmed human cases

Oakland County health officials are urging caution following a report of West Nile Virus being spotted in Pontiac.

While no human cases of the virus have been confirmed, this was the first case of the disease being found in the metro area.

“Although the positive pool was found in Pontiac, this is an indicator that West Nile Virus is present in Oakland County communities,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division in a press release. “Residents are encouraged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.”

There's several prevention tips offered by the county:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency-registered insect repellent. They include DEET, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus as active ingredients. Repellants with a higher percentage of the ingredients typically last longer
  • Be careful when applying repellant on the hands of children as it may irritate eyes and mouth
  • Remove or treat mosquito breeding sites near your home by draining any standing water. Breeding sites often include tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, pet bowls and trash containers 
  • You can treat breeding sites by spraying them with mosquito larvicide
  • Wear protective clothing
  • Limit outdoor activity as dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus and happen when a mosquito bites an infected bird. The virus then spreads to humans when an infected mosquito bites one. Most infected exhibit no symptoms or experience a fever, headache and body ache. 

However in some individuals, the disease can cause more serious symptoms, like brain swelling.