OTSEGO, Mich. (WOOD) — Allegan County health officials are encouraging people to protect themselves from mosquitoes after detecting West Nile virus in the county.

The Allegan County Health Department says lab tests confirmed a wild crow found dead in an Otsego yard had West Nile virus. State health officials notified the county about the confirmed case Thursday. So far, Allegan County hasn’t had any reported or confirmed cases of the virus in humans this year.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services weekly report, seven people and 11 birds statewide have tested positive for West Nile virus this season. The only other confirmed cases in West Michigan were four blood donors from Kalamazoo who were asymptomatic, according to MDHHS.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes which are an active threat until the first hard frost of the year. West Nile virus symptoms in humans include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and rash. People are encouraged to protect themselves by taking the following steps to avoid mosquito bites:

  • Use insect repellent that contains the active ingredient DEET;
  • Cover your skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants when outdoors;
  • Repair or replace any windows and screens that mosquitoes can pass through;
  • Empty any standing water in backyard items like buckets and small pools where mosquitoes can breed.

Anyone who suspects they have West Nile virus is encouraged to contact their doctor.