What are the symptoms of West Nile virus?
Most people who get West Nile virus will not have any symptoms – they won’t even know they have it. Some people may get sick 3 to 14 days after a bite from a mosquito carrying the virus. A small number of people who get West Nile virus will get a mild illness with fever, head and body aches, and sometimes a skin rash and swollen glands. There are no known long-term effects from a mild illness.
West Nile virus can cause severe illness known as West Nile encephalitis or meningitis. Symptoms include headache, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness, coma, and convulsions. A small number of these illnesses have been deadly. But, people do not often get severe West Nile illness. Less than 1% of the people who get West Nile virus will develop a severe illness.
If you think you or any of your family members have any symptoms of West Nile virus you should talk to your doctor. If you have any symptoms like fever, confusion, muscle weakness and severe headaches, you should see your doctor right away.
How can I prevent West Nile virus?
Try to get fewer mosquito bites:
Wear bug spray, lotion or gel with DEET (N, N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) when you go outdoors. Common bug sprays, lotions and gels with DEET include Off, DEET, Cutter, etc. The more DEET in a spray, lotion or gel, the longer it works. Higher levels of DEET do not work better. Sprays, lotions and gels with 10-35% DEET will do a good job for adults. But for children, only use products with 10% or less of DEET.
When using bug sprays, lotions or gels follow these instructions
Always follow the directions on the product label.
Only use on exposed skin. Do not use under clothing.
Do not use on cuts or sores.
Do not use on the eyes and mouth and do not spray on the face. Spray on hands first and then rub hands over your face.
When using on children, put repellent on your hands first and then use your hands to put it on the child. Never use on children’s hands because they often put their hands in their mouths.
After coming inside, wash skin with soap and water or bathe.
When you can, wear clothes that cover the skin like long sleeves, long pants and socks while outdoors. You can also spray your clothing with bug spray since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing.
Wear light-colored clothing since mosquitoes like dark colors.
Put mosquito netting over infant carriers and strollers when infants are outdoors.
Do not wear strong smelling perfumes or use strong smelling shampoos and hair sprays because mosquitoes like strong smells.
You may want to stay indoors at dawn, dusk and during the early evening. These are the times when mosquitoes are most likely to bite you. Also, try to stay away from activities in areas where there are a lot of mosquitoes.
Make sure that your window and door screens do not have any holes where mosquitoes can get in to the house. If you do not have screens, get them.
Mosquitoes can follow people into buildings or come in on pets so make sure your pets are free of mosquitoes when letting them into the house.
Try to lower the number of mosquito breeding areas around your home:
Keep your lawn and shrubs cut.
Change the water in your bird bath twice a week.
Empty and clean children’s wading pools a couple times a week.
Empty and refill pet water bowls every day.
Cover trash bins to keep them from filling with water.
Get rid of things in your yard that can collect water (like jars, bottles, old tires, etc.).
Clean leaves and sticks out of eaves troughs/rain gutters and check them often.
Store boats and canoes upside down so they do not collect and hold rain water.
Drain or fill any low areas in your yard where water stands for five or more days.
Who do I call regarding dead or dying birds?
Call the Kent County Health Department at (616)336-3030 if you see any dead or dying birds. Do not touch the birds, or any dead animal with your bare hands. Use gloves or an inside-out plastic bag to pick the animal up to put in the trash. Do not bring any dead birds or other dead animals to the health department.
For more information call (616)336-3030.
West Nile Virus Prevention Initiative
Mosquito Control Around Your Home
Michigan is blessed with over 50 species of mosquitoes. These can be categorized into two basic groups based on their breeding habits. The first group might be termed spring mosquitoes. Spring mosquitoes produce a single generation of adults each year. Their larvae develop in "spring pools" in low-lying areas that hold water from snowmelt and spring rains.
The other group of mosquitoes, called summer mosquitoes, will produce generation after generation of mosquitoes during the summer as long as there is standing water available.
Reducing mosquito bites still revolves around the use of repellents, loose fitting clothing, tight fitting window screens, and yard sprays with malathion, permethrin or cyfluthrin, and simply staying indoors during peak mosquito times. There are several over the counter products you can purchase at your neighborhood lawn and garden store or hardware store that contain these active ingredients. Bonide Mosquito Beater, Cutter - Bug Free and Ortho Mosquito-B-Gone are just a few.
There are several new products available on the market, though some are quite expensive, that claim to rid yards of mosquitoes. While its true that these mosquito traps do catch mosquitoes, they appear not to catch all species of mosquitoes equally. Mosquito traps currently on the market include: Mosquito Magnet, SkeeterVac and Mosquito Deleto.
Cascade Charter Township is actively installing a mosquito larvacide in public storm drain catch basins within the township. The product being used is supposed to last about 90 days and is designed to kill mosquito larva before they reach their adult form.
The program is a proactive and precautionary measure to deal with the transport of West Nile Virus. In urbanized areas, catch basin sumps serve as a primary breeding ground for mosquitoes. It is the intent of the program to target these areas.
If you live on a private street, the catch basins will not be treated by Cascade Charter Township. However, if you would like your basins treated please have your association or owner contact Sandra Korhorn at (616) 949-1500.
Unlike conventional pesticides, each ALTOSID formulation contains methoprene, an insect growth regulator (IGR) that stops mosquitoes from becoming breeding, biting adults. Methoprene is target-specific, and will not affect fish, waterfowl, mammals or beneficial predatory insects.
State of Michigan