State efforts to combat West Nile have reduced cases

Jul 3, 2014

West Nile is a virus transmitted by mosquitos. The virus often causes no symptoms in infected humans, but in some cases serious illness and death can occur.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Michigan is making progress against West Nile.

600 people were infected with West Nile in 2002 when the mosquito-borne virus first appeared.

Last year, there were only 34 cases.

Angela Minicuci is with the state Department of Community Health.

She says many cities now regularly flush out the stagnant pools of water where mosquitos that carry West Nile  breed.

She says individual homeowners' efforts are also contributing to fewer cases.

"Much of it can also be attributed to people taking the effort on their own as well to flush out the water around their home," says Minicuci.  "So think of your storm drains, ditches, retention ponds, maybe your bird baths, kiddie pools, around your home, where that water is not being consistently flushed out by heavy rain, that's usually a sign that's a breeding ground for this species of mosquito."

People should also make sure their window and door screens are in good repair.  The mosquito that carries West Nile has a tendency to get inside homes and bite after people have fallen asleep.

So far, there have been no cases of West Nile infection reported to the state.

But Minicuci says mosquitos carrying the virus have been found in a monitored water body in Saginaw County.