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Southern Nevada man is 1st human West Nile virus case of 2017

20 May 2017

West Nile virus is acquired in mosquitoes when the insects feeds on infected birds.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Health and Human Services have detected their first cases of West Nile virus this season. The virus was found in a turkey in Barry County, a crow in Saginaw County and another crow in Kalamazoo County. Many people with the virus will have no symptoms or very mild symptoms of illness.

There are no human cases that have been detected so far. Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months. More serious complications include neurological illnesses such as meningitis.

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Last year, the state says there were 43 serious illnesses and three deaths related to West Nile virus in MI.

West Nile is transmitted to humans most often through mosquito bites, Eisner said.

The health district says residents can lessen their chances of contracting the illnesses by using EPA-registered insect repellents containing DEET (diethyltoluamide), Picaridin, IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), or 2-undecanone; wearing trousers and long-sleeved shirts to reduce mosquito exposure when outdoors; and eliminating areas of standing water around the home, including non-circulating ponds, "green" swimming pools and accumulated sprinkler runoff. And MDHHS says that as temperatures rise, mosquitoes and the virus develop more quickly.

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"Mosquito bites and the diseases spread by infected mosquitoes are preventable", said Dr. Joe Iser, Chief Health Officer for the Health District.

The mosquitoes themselves become infected after feeding on a bird carrying the virus. The program also conducts surveillance for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, the two species known to spread the Zika virus.

As of May 1, the health department began accepting birds, such as crows, blue jays, grackle, starling, robin, cardinal, catbird, sparrow, finch, swallows, flay catchers, warblers and wrens.

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Southern Nevada man is 1st human West Nile virus case of 2017