The Marquette County Health Department (MCHD) has recently been made aware that two hawks in Marquette County, Michigan have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV). This finding suggests that local mosquitoes in Marquette County, as well as throughout the U.P., are carrying the virus. In light of this information, residents are strongly advised to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites and reduce the risk of contracting WNV.
Symptoms of WNV typically appear between three to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. These symptoms may include fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes a skin rash or swollen glands. In severe cases, the virus can lead to encephalitis, which is inflammation of the brain and can be fatal or cause permanent damage. The MCHD recommends that anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact their healthcare provider.
To stay healthy and minimize the risk of mosquito bites, residents are encouraged to follow these preventative measures:
1. Apply insect repellents containing DEET, or another EPA-approved product, to exposed skin or clothing. It is important to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using these products.
2. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants when spending time outdoors, and apply insect repellent to clothing to further prevent bites.
3. Maintain properly fitted window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of the home.
4. Remove any standing water from potential mosquito breeding sites around the property. This includes emptying buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires, and similar areas where mosquitoes may lay their eggs.
5. Consider using nets and/or fans to create a barrier against mosquitoes in outdoor eating areas.
It is important to note that the risk of mosquito-borne illnesses remains until late fall, when nighttime temperatures consistently drop below freezing. For more detailed information about mosquito-borne diseases, residents can visit Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.