Macomb County Man May Have Died From West Nile Virus
A 48-year-old Macomb County man is believed to have contracted the first case in Michigan of the West Nile Virus.
Health officials have identified a 48-year-old Macomb County man as the first probable human case of the West Nile Virus this year.
The man, whose hometown and name was not released, was hospitalized earlier this month after showing symptoms of the virus, and has since died.
Test to confirm that he died from the West Nile Virus are pending from the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Bureau of Laboratories.
“West Nile Virus is identified in Michigan every summer and can cause severe illness. We want to be sure that citizens take seriously the risk for WNV infection,” Dr. Dean Sienko, Interim Chief Medical Executive, said in a release. “The months of August and September are when most human cases of West Nile Virus occur in Michigan.”
High temperatures and heavy rainfalls this summer have contributed to an increase in overall mosquito populations, state officials said.
The West Nile Virus is not uncommon in Macomb County, officials stated.
"In 2010 we had eleven confirmed cases of WNV, including three deaths," said Dr. Kevin Lokar, the medical director for Macomb County Health Department, said in a release. "Although most of these people were in their 60s or 70s, the youngest was in her 20s. All eleven lived in the more urbanized, densely-populated part of the county."
Information about the West Nile from the Department of Community Health:
- The end of summer is when mosquitoes are older and more likely to carry the virus.
- The types of mosquitoes that transmit the virus bite during evening and nighttime hours.
- Most people bitten by a WNV infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three to 15 days after exposure.
- About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever, and about one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.
- Symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.
- Persons aged 55 and older are more susceptible to severe West Nile Virus disease symptoms.
The Department of Community Health issued the following tips to help prevent contracting the virus:
- Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
- Empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
- Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved repellent to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
For additional information about the virus, visit State's Emerging Diseases website at www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.