Ongoing surveillance and testing conducted by the Kent County Health Department revealed three presumptive positive instances of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus in Kent County.
The discovery comes after testing pools of mosquito remains that were trapped in the 49504 and 49525 ZIP Codes. Currently, there are no recorded human cases.
“Discovering these cases in mosquitoes should serve as a reminder to everyone who lives in West Michigan that West Nile virus season is upon us,” said Brendan Earl, supervising sanitarian at KCHD. “It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible.”
Since there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile, the best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10%-35% DEET, wearing light-colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk.
Residents can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing or refreshing water in birdbaths, children’s wading pools and water bowls for your pets. Empty other small containers that can collect water and keep lawns and shrubs trimmed.
Infected Culex mosquitoes primarily spread West Nile virus. Only about 20% of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with this type of West Nile virus completely recover, but fatigue may last for weeks or even months.
About one in 150 people infected develop severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Recovery from this type of West Nile virus may take several months. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances, the disease can lead to death.