West Nile virus found in Wayne County mosquitoes

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

Mosquitoes in Wayne County have tested positive for the West Nile virus, health officials say.

“Throughout the summer, employees of the Wayne County Environmental Health section have been trapping and testing mosquitoes for the West Nile Virus,” officials said Tuesday in a news release. “Last week, for the first time this summer, the routine testing detected a positive sampling of the virus in a pool of mosquitoes found in Redford Township.”

While there have been no confirmed cases this year of the virus in humans, officials urge residents to take precautions and avoid exposure to mosquitoes that may be infected.

“We want people to enjoy the last weeks of summer but we also want our residents to take the necessary steps to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” Wayne County Health Officer Dr. Mouhanad Hammami said.

Most people infected with West Nile will not show symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control. About 1 in 5 people will develop flu-like symptoms that could last for weeks, while severe cases could lead to potentially fatal neurological illnesses such as encephalitis and meningitis.

West Nile also was found earlier this month in neighboring Oakland County.

Like previous years, “the late summer months have shown an increase in mosquitoes testing positive” for the virus, the Oakland County Health Division said in an Aug. 4 statement.

The mosquito-borne virus can cause inflammation and brain swelling, Oakland County health officials said. Mosquitoes are infected by biting a bird that carries the virus.

To report a single dead bird, go to http://www.michigandnr.com.

To report three or more dead birds, call (517) 336-5030.

Tips to prevent mosquito bites include:

■Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil, lemon eucalyptus, or other EPA-approved active ingredients on skin and/or clothing.

■Limit outdoor activity between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.

■Avoid shaded and wooded areas where mosquitoes may be present.

■Cover up when outdoors. Wear long-sleeve shirts, longs pants, socks and shoes.

■Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

■Eliminate standing water around your home.


(313) 223-4616