West Nile Active In Ontario, Michigan

(WINDSOR, ON) – West Nile Virus has been detected in southeast Michigan after the Oakland County Health Division sampled a mosquito pool tested positive. The mosquito-borne virus is transmitted to humans from birds carrying the disease through bites.

“WNV is typically detected from June through September,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, the health officer for Oakland County. “Prevention is the best way to avoid the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.”

The discovery of the virus in Oakland County follows on the heels of an announcement by the Windsor Essex County Health Unit last week. The first positive mosquito pool of the season is an indicator that the virus is still in southwestern Ontario.

No human cases of West Nile Virus have been diagnosed in Oakland County or Essex County, thus far this year. Residents of both locales are urged to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches.

However, at risk populations, including the elderly, can develop a more serious of the disease which can cause inflammation and swelling of the brain.

  • Use insect repellents that contain DEET or other approved ingredients when going outdoors. Read and follow the manufacturers’ directions for safe use.
  • Make sure that door and window screens fit securely and are free of holes.
  • Limit the time you spend outdoors at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a hat when outdoors. Light-coloured clothing is best as mosquitoes tend to be attracted to dark colours.

Both health agencies are continuing to monitor for West Nile activity.

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Ian Shalapata
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