Oakland County man, 80, dies of West Nile virus

The Detroit News
Health officials have reported two deaths from West Nile virus in Michigan.

Pontiac – An 80-year-old man from Oakland County has become the second person in Michigan to die this year from West Nile virus, the Oakland County Health Division reported Tuesday.

It is Oakland County's first human fatality from the virus since 2015. Last month, state health officials reported a death in Wayne County.

“This is a tragic reminder of how severe West Nile virus can be, especially for adults over 50 who are at greater risk for severe illness," said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for the Oakland County Health Division. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes, even as we enter the fall season.”

As of Tuesday, 67 cases of West Nile virus had been reported this year in Michigan, according to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Residents, especially older adults, are urged to take these measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites:

--Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient.

--Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth. 

--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 screens to keep mosquitoes outside. Do not prop open doors.