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Environment & Climate Change

Expert: West Nile conditions worst he's seen

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The scope of the West Nile Virus problem continues to grow in Michigan.

There have been 57 confirmed cases in the state, as well as a third death from the disease spread by mosquitos.

"The intensity of this is very alarming," said Michigan State University entomologist Ned Walker. "I haven't seen anything that is this intense in my career."

Walker says Michigan is at the peak of transmission of West Nile right now, and it could last through October.

"So the question is, how many human cases will we be counting three weeks from now?" he said.

Walker says the best prevention is outdoor spraying, but only a handful of Michigan communities have set aside the money to do it.

He recommends repellent and bed nets because the mosquito that spreads West Nile likes to come indoors ... and bite in the middle of the night.

The problem is worst in urban and suburban areas. That's because of stormwater catch basins, neglected swimming pools and sewage treatment lagoons, where mosquitos are likely to breed.

Walker says the last serious outbreaks in Michigan were in 2002 and 2003.

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