Routine mosquito-borne disease surveillance conducted by the Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission (SCMAC) has detected the first evidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) in Crows this summer. This detection was found in a dead crow reported by a citizen in Saginaw Township on July 28. This is the first detection of West Nile Virus activity found in Saginaw County this 2015 season.
WNV monitoring will continue through the end of September by testing mosquito samples and the collection of dead crows and blue jays. SCMAC’s disease surveillance programs will continue looking daily for increased disease transmission activity such as high percent infection rates in mosquitoes or numerous crow/blue jay deaths from a specific area or neighborhood. Any areas in the county which have higher than normal levels of WNV activity will receive extensive control efforts to reduce adult and larval mosquito populations. Citizens are encouraged to take appropriate measures to avoid mosquitoes and are strongly encouraged to contact the Commission’s office at (989) 755-5751 if they notice a crow or blue jay that has been dead for less than 24 hours.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who contract the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill 3 to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. WNV is more prevalent in the latter months of summer, when temperatures are hotter and dryer conditions prevail. This weather leads to greater movement and amplification of the virus in birds and mosquitoes. The greater the amount of virus found in the natural reservoirs (birds and mosquitoes) the greater the threat of human transmission.
Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. About one in 150 people suffer serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, which may result in death.
Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease. Currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 38 human cases of WNV in the US including 1 death.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include: *Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. *When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, light colored long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
*Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night. *Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires and any other object holding water. Contact SCMAC to report stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, fields or similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
The Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission is at 211 Congress, Saginaw, MI, 48602; (989) 755-5751; email@example.com, www.scmac.org.