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Bay County Mosquito Control Reports West Nile Virus

August 18, 2015       Leave a Comment
By: Josh Sharrow

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Routine mosquito-borne disease surveillance conducted by Bay County Mosquito Control (BCMC) has detected the first evidence of West Nile Virus (WNV) activity in a sample of mosquitoes from an area southwest of Euclid and Thomas in Bay City. The sample was collected on July 27 and was just confirmed. In response, extensive control efforts have taken place in the area to reduce adult and larval mosquito populations.

West Nile Virus is well established throughout the state, and indeed, throughout the country and is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. 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. Monitoring will continue until October 1 by testing mosquito samples and collecting dead crows and blue jays. Bay County citizens can participate in the West Nile Virus prevention effort by eliminating sources of stagnant water on their property and dumping water where possible to prevent mosquito eggs from hatching or larvae from developing into biting adults.

The best way to prevent West Nile or any other mosquito-carried illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. To further help reduce your own risk of acquiring WNV:

- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
- When possible, wear long-sleeves, long pants, and socks when outdoors and apply insect repellent, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellent on infants.
- See the CDC website link below for more detailed information on repellents. Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water including water in abandoned swimming pools, wading pools, old tires or buckets and containers.

Citizens should call BCMC at (989) 894-4555 to report dead crows or blue jays. The birds should be dead less than 24 hours and in good condition (no rotting odor or presence of maggots). If you find a dead bird, don?t handle the body with your bare hands. Instead, always wear gloves or scoop the bird with a plastic shopping bag. Homeowners may dispose of other dead bird species either in an outside garbage can or by burying the bird.

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Josh Sharrow

Sharrow is the Sales Manager, columnist, writer, coffee maker for O.J. Advertising and an on-air personality for 98 KCQ.

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