Blood donor positive for West Nile in Oakland County

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

A blood donor tested positive for the West Nile Virus in Oakland County, according to health officials.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services notified the Oakland County Health Division of the infection after it was discovered during routine testing by the American Red Cross, officials said in a Oakland County Health Division statement.

“We know that West Nile Virus is in our community, so it is important that everyone protect themselves from mosquito bites — especially those 50 and older who are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms,” said Kathy Forzley, health division health officer.

This is the first Michigan blood donation in 2016 that has tested positive for the virus, officials said. Previously, the first human case of the infection was reported in Livingston County while mosquito pools have consistently tested positive for the virus in Oakland County and other locations throughout the state.

The virus is transmitted to humans and animals by the bite of an infected mosquito, officials said. Most people will not experience serious illness; however individuals 50 years or older may be susceptible to complications including encephalitis and meningitis.

Updated public health information is available at the Oakland County health division’s website.

(313) 223-4616


Tips for avoiding West Nile

■ Spray clothing and exposed skin with insect repellent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends use of insect repellents containing DEET and Picaridin. Always follow manufacturer’s directions carefully, especially when using on children.

■ Minimize activities where mosquitoes are present, such as shaded and wooded areas.

■ Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.

■ Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

■ Maintain window and door screening to keep mosquitoes out of buildings.

■ Eliminate standing water in your yard. Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs.

Source: Oakland County Health Division