WUOMFM

Guarding against West Nile virus

Jun 15, 2015

Credit flickr user trebol-a / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Combine heavy rain, humid and warm weather, mosquitos, three dead crows ... and what you get is the first West Nile virus activity in Michigan in 2015.

Dr. Eden Wells is the chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and she says it's not uncommon to see birds infected in June each year. 

Wells says while every state has some experience with West Nile virus, human cases that lead to problems are relatively rare.

“About 80% of the time, we may not even know that we’ve gotten infected. If, however, we tend to be older, greater than 50 or 60 years old, or have any underlying medical conditions, we may be at more risk to have some of the more severe diseases; either just a fever or even a infection of the brain if this virus gets out of control.”

Wells says people can protect themselves by wearing insect repellant, and by keeping window screens in good shape. She says people should also empty standing pools of water that are breeding grounds for mosquitos.