KENT COUNTY, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids city officials are launching an attack on mosquitoes that may carry West Nile after insects tested positive for the virus.
According to the Kent County Health Department Environmental Health division, workers collected the infected mosquitoes in the 49506 zip code, which includes parts of southeast Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids. However, health officials people in nearby areas should also be vigilant.
“Finding West Nile virus in one zip code does not mean that it is confined to that area,” says Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “The virus will likely be present in other neighboring zip codes to some degree, and the risk remains until at least the first frost of the season. We want people to be aware that they can greatly reduce their own risks by taking some simple precautions.”
To help protect yourself from West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses, follow these tips from the Kent County Health Department:
- Wear a mosquito repellant that contains 10 percent to 35 percent DEET.
- Wear light-colored clothing; dark clothing attracts mosquitoes.
- Stay indoors during dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
- Remove standing water in your yard, which can be a mosquito breeding ground.
- Keep your lawn and shrubs cut.
According to the health department, Grand Rapids city workers are using larvicide to treat catch basins and pooled water in areas where mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus. The Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek region ranked 15th on Orkin’s list of Top Mosquito Cities this year.
So far no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Kent County this year.
In June, health department workers began capturing and testing mosquitos from ten Gravid traps scattered across the county. This is the third year Kent County received a state grant to screen the insects.