The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Friday that eight human cases of West Nile virus for 2018 in Michigan have been confirmed, including one death. The eight cases include one resident of Berrien County, Kent County, and Oakland County, and five residents of Wayne County which is also where the fatal case was reported. All but one have been hospitalized. In addition to the eight human cases, three Michigan blood donors have had WNV detected in their blood.

Meanwhile, on Thursday the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department reported that West Nile virus has been detected in several birds collected in Kalamazoo County and sampled by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. August is peak season for West Nile virus activity in Michigan. Other communities, including Metro Detroit and Grand Rapids, have previously reported increased West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes collected in their areas.

“As the fall approaches, it’s vital to remember that mosquito bite protection should continue until the weather significantly cools. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn for the mosquitoes that transmit West Nile Virus.” - Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the MDHHS.

Residents can use simple and effective strategies to protect themselves and their families to avoid West Nile Virus. The following steps are recommended to avoid WNV and other mosquito-borne diseases: 

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

For more information and surveillance activity about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne viruses CLICK HERE