GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County says it has detected its first case of West Nile virus in mosquitoes so far this year.
The county always keeps an eye out for mosquitoes carrying the illness. This time, the mosquitoes that tested positive for it were in the 49548 zip code, near the border of Byron and Gaines townships.
No cases of West Nile virus have been found in humans or animals in Michigan so far this year, the state says.
While most people infected with West Nile virus don’t show any symptoms, about 20% have headaches or other aches or pain. About 1 in 150 people infected can develop a severe case, including encephalitis or meningitis that can lead to paralysis. Though it’s rare, West Nile virus can be fatal.
If you have symptoms of high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, tremors, vision loss, numbness or paralysis, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
While there is no vaccine or cure for West Nile 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.
The threat of West Nile will remain until the first hard frost of the year.