Also, Michigan State University’s Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health detected WNV in a Lenawee County crow that was found dead July 23, 2008.
“West Nile Virus is a serious illness and we want to be sure that citizens understand the potential risk associated with WNV infection,” said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. “The months of August and September are when most human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Michigan.”
West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. The end of summer is when mosquitoes are older and more likely to carry the virus. Hot and dry weather conditions increase the risk for infections in people. The types of mosquitoes that transmit the virus bite during evening and
Most people bitten by a WNV infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure.
About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill. Symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor,
disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.
Persons aged 55 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke in the summer months.
Michigan residents are encouraged to:
_Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
_Drain puddles in the yard, emptying water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, troughs, barrels, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
_Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.
_Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
_Apply insect repellants that contain the active ingredient DEET to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
Collection of information on the sightings of sick and dead wild birds and mammals is necessary for monitoring the risk of WNV to humans, wildlife and domestic animals.
For rapid reporting of a sighting, use the web-based reporting form by visiting the state’s website at www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus
For those without Internet access, you may use your local library to access the Internet or call the statewide toll-free number at: 1-888-668-0869 for updated information about WNV.