West Nile virus found in mosquito in Pontiac

By: Terry Oparka | C&G Newspapers | Published June 17, 2019

PONTIAC — Oakland County health officials urge protection against mosquitoes after a mosquito in Pontiac tested positive for West Nile virus.

No human cases have been reported.

“Although the positive pool was found in Pontiac, this is an indicator that West Nile virus is present in Oakland County communities,” Leigh-Anne Stafford, a health officer for the Oakland County Health Division, said in a press release June 14. “Residents are encouraged to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.”

According to the Oakland County Health Division, West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus.

Mosquitoes are infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. The virus is  spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito.

Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness, such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, in some individuals, a more serious disease-causing inflammation and swelling of the brain can develop. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms of West Nile virus if they do get sick.

The Oakland County Health Division offers these tips:

• Use EPA-registered insect repellent, which is evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and contains either DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol.

• Wipe out mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water from around your home and emptying out containers that hold water, such as pet bowls, flowerpots, trash containers, tires and toys.

• Clean clogged roof gutters.

• Treat standing water that can’t be eliminated with mosquito larvicide, which is easy to use and may be purchased at home improvement stores.

• Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.

• Limit outdoor activity from dawn to dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.

For up-to-date public health information, visit oakgov.com/health or follow @publichealthOC on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

A nurse on call is available 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays at (800) 848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com.