GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Health officials are reminding people to wear insect repellent after they confirmed a mosquito-borne virus on Grand Rapids’ West Side.
The Kent County Health Department said it identified the Jamestown Canyon virus in mosquitoes in the 49504 zip code.
Officials said this is the first time Jamestown Canyon has been found in Kent County, though it has previously been tracked in other parts of the state and elsewhere in the Midwest. The state says that as of Thursday, it had been found in seven mosquito pools elsewhere in Bay, Oakland and Saginaw counties this year. No people in Michigan have come down with it this year.
Last year, one person in Ottawa County caught Jamestown Canyon virus. It was only the fourth confirmed infection in the state since 2018.
Most people who catch Jamestown Canyon don’t have any symptoms, but some people can develop fever, headache and fatigue. It’s rare, but some cases can be severe, causing encephalitis or meningitis.
Those are also some of the worst results of West Nile virus, though again, it is rare for the complications to develop. No human cases of West Nile have been reported this year.
While there is no vaccine or cure for Jamestown Canyon virus, health officials advise the following steps to protect yourself from getting it:
- Wear a mosquito repellent that contains 10% to 35% DEET.
- Stay indoors at dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light-colored clothing, as well as long sleeves and pants.
- Remove standing water in your yard, which can be a mosquito breeding ground.
- Keep your grass and shrubs trimmed.
- Keep window and door screens in good repair.