Oakland County Executive David Coulter and Health Division urge residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites as the first Oakland County mosquito pool testing positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) in 2020 was collected in Royal Oak, and the second case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) was confirmed in Michigan outside of Oakland County. No confirmed human cases of the WNV or EEE have occurred in Oakland County this year.
“The positive mosquito pool in Royal Oak indicates that West Nile Virus is present in our community,” Oakland County Health Officer Leigh-Anne Stafford said. “The best way to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illness is to avoid being bitten.”
Health Division recommends these prevention tips:
• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellent. All EPA registered insect repellents are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions.
o Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.
• Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home:
o Turn over any type of container that can collect water. Once a week, empty out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, pet bowls, flowerpots, and trash containers.
o Clean clogged roof gutters, particularly if leaves tend to plug up the drains.
o Treat standing water that cannot be eliminated, such as retention ponds or drainage ditches, with a mosquito larvicide. Mosquito larvicide is easy to use and can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
• 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 out of buildings. Do not prop open doors.
WNV is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes are infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. The virus is then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, in some individuals, a more serious disease-causing inflammation and swelling of the brain can develop. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms of WNV if they become ill from the virus.
People can be infected with EEE from the bite of a mosquito carrying the virus. EEE is one of the most dangerous mosquito-borne diseases in the United States, with a 33 percent fatality rate in people who become ill. Persons younger than age 15 and over age 50 are at greatest risk of severe disease following infection. Signs of EEE include the sudden onset of fever, chills, body and joint aches which can progress to a severe encephalitis, resulting in headache, disorientation, tremors, seizures
and paralysis. Permanent brain damage, coma and death may also occur in some cases.Anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their physician’s office. More information about Mosquito-Borne Disease, such as WNV and EEE, can be found on the Health Division’s website at www.oakgov.com/health or by contacting Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or firstname.lastname@example.org.