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The first case of the West Nile Virus has been exposed to three birds in Michigan, state officials said Friday.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said that three birds — a turkey in Barry County and two crows, one from Saginaw County and the other from Kalamazoo County — have been infected with the virus born of mosquito bites.

As the warmer months approach, health officials warn that people who participate in outdoor activities or jobs might be at a higher risk for West Nile infection from mosquito bites and that anyone 50 or older will have the highest risk of severe illness.

“Everyone older than six months of age should use repellent outdoors,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive of MDHHS. “It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile virus.”

State officials said the birds were infected with the virus and found sick or dead in early May and tested positive for West Nile this week.

West Nile symptoms include high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and a severe headache with more serious effects turning into neurological illnesses such as meningitis and encephalitis.

lfleming@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2620

Twitter:@leonardnfleming

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