West Nile virus found in Macomb County mosquitoes

West Nile virus was detected in Macomb County for the first time this year.

The virus was found in a sample of mosquitoes. The Macomb County Health Department did not specify which cities the insects were gathered from.

Related: Michigan confirms first 2021 case of mosquito-borne EEE

Mosquitoes pick up the virus from infected birds and pass it on to humans and animals.

No cases of the virus have been reported in humans this year. The first domestic animal case was confirmed in a Midland County horse earlier this month.

Read More: First 2021 case of West Nile virus confirmed in horse

Many people infected with the virus will not have any symptoms or will experience a mild illness such as body aches, fever, and headache. 

Some people will develop more severe symptoms that could include encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord). Those at greatest risk to develop a severe illness include people 50 years and older, those with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, cancer, kidney disease, hypertension, and people who have received an organ transplant.

Tips were provided to reducing your chance of being bitten by an infected mosquito:

  • Use an insect repellent that contains DEET or picardin on clothing and exposed skin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends the use of oil of lemon eucalyptus as a more natural repellant. Manufacturer’s directions should be closely followed when using these products.
  • Mosquitoes are most active from dusk to dawn. Residents should limit outdoor activities and wear pants and long sleeves, along with using repellent during these hours.
  • People who work in outdoor occupations or like to spend time outdoors are also at increased risk for WNV infection from mosquito bites.
  • Areas of standing water, such as buckets, flower pots, barrels, and children’s pools should be kept empty when not being used to prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs. Change the water regularly in pet dishes and bird baths and keep gutters free of standing water.
  • Window and door screens should be in good repair to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and buildings.