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West Nile Virus detected in two Michigan residents

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Sept. 21, 2023
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Sept. 21, 2023 03:19

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Two people in Michigan have tested positive for West Nile Virus, health officials announced Thursday. 

The Ottawa County Department of Health says that as of Thursday morning, both Ottawa County residents have been hospitalized, and neither have died. 

In addition, health officials say neither of these individuals have a history of traveling and likely got bitten by an infected mosquito in West Michigan. 

This is the highest number of West Nile Virus cases in the country since 2018. Cases happen during mosquito season, which begins in the summer and continues throughout fall. 

West Nile Virus can cause serious illness, and there are no vaccines to prevent it, or medications to treat it. Most people who become infected do not feel sick, and about 1 out of 150 people individuals develop a serious illness, according to health officials. 

Mild symptoms of being infected with West Nile Virus include the following:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches and joint pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

Severe symptoms include the following: 

  • High fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Vision loss
  • Stupor, disorientation
  • Tremors, convulsions
  • Numbness
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

Officials say the best way to prevent being exposed to West Nile Virus is to avoid mosquitoes by wearing insect repellents, long-sleeved shirts and pants when outside and emptying water from areas such as unused kiddie pools, old tires and buckets, where mosquitoes can lay eggs. 

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