Health Division suggests guarding against West Nile Virus over July 4th

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson urges residents to take precautions to minimize mosquito exposure and protect themselves from West Nile Virus (WNV). The recent rainfall coupled with warmer weather creates the perfect breeding ground for a large mosquito population to develop very quickly, the Oakland County Health Division said.

"Our Health Division stresses prevention to avoid mosquito bites when outdoors for any activity," Patterson said. "Using insect repellent and removing mosquito breeding sites by emptying containers with standing water every three to four days can help prevent the spread of West Nile Virus."

Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer, said the following preventative measures help reduce the risk of WNV:

? Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or other EPA-approved active ingredient on skin or clothing following manufacturer's instructions.

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

? Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes when outdoors.

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

? Report a sick or dead bird, or mammal, at the State of Michigan Emerging Disease Issues webpage at: www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases. Select West Nile Virus, then How to Report a Dead Bird or Mammal.

Mosquitoes can be infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases by biting a bird that carries the virus. The virus can then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV or other mosquito borne diseases have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. In some individuals, however, mostly the elderly, a more serious disease affecting the brain tissue may develop.

Residents can also reduce the mosquito population by eliminating mosquito breeding sites around their home. Empty standing water from flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, old tires, buckets, barrels, cans, and similar items where mosquitoes can lay eggs and maintain windows and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

As of June 26, 2014, the Michigan Department of Community Health reports no cases of WNV being identified in Oakland County or the state.

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health or call the WNV Hotline at 877-377-3641. For more public health information, follow the Health Division on Facebook and Twitter: @publichealthOC.

Published: Wed, Jul 02, 2014

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