West Nile is a virus spread by infected mosquitoes that can cause serious illness including encephalitis or meningitis in humans.
Birds are the ‘reservoir’ for the infection. When mosquitoes bite infected birds, they become the ‘vector’ for the virus. A mosquito carrying the virus can then bite a human, infecting that person.
Even though the West Nile Virus season has been mild this year and is winding down, Shiawassee County Health Department reminds residents to remain vigilant.
The best way to protect you and your family is to eliminate mosquito breeding spots close to home. There are a number of basic ways you can prevent this illness:
• Limit outdoor activities at dawn or dusk
• Wear protective clothing
• Avoid working in areas with tall grasses where mosquitoes hide during the day
• Use insect repellant with “DEET” in it, and follow the label directions
• Eliminate outdoor areas where water collects (tires, buckets, bird baths, rain barrels, tarps, etc.)
• Larvicide can be used to destroy mosquito larvae before they develop into adults
Please consult the State of Michigan’s West Nile Virus website for additional information at www.michigan.gov/westnile
or contact the Shiawassee County Health Department at (989) 743-2390.