West Nile virus found in Kent County mosquitoes

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The Kent County Health Department detected West Nile virus in tested mosquitoes in Kent County.

The discovery was made during ongoing surveillance and testing conducted by the Kent County Health Department (KCHD). The discovery comes after testing pools of mosquitoes that were trapped by KCHD in the 49506 ZIP code.

“This discovery is important because it lets us know that this season’s mosquitoes are now carrying the virus and it could spread to humans,” said Paul Bellamy, public health epidemiologist 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 virus, the best treatment is prevention. KCHD recommends the following measures:

  • Wear a mosquito repellant that contains 10% to 35% DEET (read and follow product directions)
  • Wear light-colored clothing and stay indoors during dusk to reduce your risk of being bitten
  • Remove or refresh water in bird baths, children’s wading pools, water bowls for pets and empty other small containers that can collect water in your yard

West Nile virus is spread primarily by infected Culex mosquitoes. Only about 20% of the people infected will notice symptoms that may include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Most people with West Nile virus completely recover, but fatigue may linger.

About 1 in 150 people infected develop a severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Recovery from 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.

More information about prevention can be found at the health department’s website.

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