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Tag Archive | "mosquitoes"

Human cases of West Nile Virus reported


Michigan health officials have identified the state’s first confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) for 2015 in Macomb, Monroe, and Ottawa counties, and are reminding people to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

“We have clear evidence that West Nile virus is present in the state again this summer,” says Dr. Eden Wells, Chief Medical Executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. “Even late in the season, remembering to take a few minutes to protect ourselves and our loved ones from mosquito bites when outside can make a big difference.”

Statewide, 57 birds have tested positive for WNV so far this season, and 11 WNV positive mosquito pools have been detected form Bay, Kent, Oakland, Saginaw, and Wayne counties. Infected birds and mosquitoes can provide an early warning of WNV activity in a community. For the most current information on mosquito-borne virus activity in Michigan, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

Michigan residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid WNV:

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.
  • Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA approved product to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.

Take extra care during peak mosquito biting hours between dusk and dawn. Use repellent and protective clothing, or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.

Choose a repellent concentration rated for the time you will spend outdoors. When applying repellent to children, apply it to your own hands and rub them on the child. Avoid the eyes and mouth and do not apply to children’s hands because they sometimes put their hands in their mouths. Do not apply repellents to infants under 6 months of age and instead place nets over strollers and baby carriers.

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. About one in 150 infected people will become severely ill.

Symptoms of WNV include: 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.

People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke in the summer months.  For more information and surveillance activity about WNV, visit www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.

According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, people can stay healthy by using simple, effective strategies to protect themselves and their families by reading and following all repellant label directions. MDARD also urges residents to consider using biological controls for small lakes and ponds you own, such as Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti), which is available at many stores.

There is an effective vaccine for horses and MDARD reminds horse owners to work with their local veterinarian to determine appropriate vaccination status. Because dawn and dusk are worst time for mosquitoes, it is also recommended that horses be kept inside at those times, and it’s important to remove any stagnant water from the premises.

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Eco-friendly mosquito control  


Weeding the garden, adding some birdhouses, eliminating standing water and using fans and citronella candles are just a few of the eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes at bay this season.  Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Weeding the garden, adding some birdhouses, eliminating standing water and using fans and citronella candles are just a few of the eco-friendly ways to keep mosquitoes at bay this season.
Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

By Melinda Myers

Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Courtesy of James Gathany CDC.

Don’t let mosquitoes keep you from enjoying your garden and outdoor parties. Look for environmentally sound ways to manage these pests in your garden and landscape.

Start by eliminating standing water in the yard. Buckets, old tires and clogged gutters and downspouts that hold water make the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Drain water that collects in these as well as kids’ toys, tarps and pool covers. Store these items in the garage or turn them over to keep them from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. Even small containers hold enough water for hundreds to thousands of mosquitoes to breed.

Change the water in birdbaths at least once a week. Consider installing a small pump to keep water moving to prevent mosquito breeding. Or use an organic mosquito control like Mosquito Dunks and Bits (SummitResponsibleSolutions.com) in rain barrels and water features. The Mosquito Bits quickly knock down the mosquito larval population, while the Mosquito Dunks provide 30 days of control. They are both certified organic and safe for pets, fish, wildlife and children.

Wear light colored, loose fitting clothing. These pests are less attracted to the lighter colors and can’t readily reach your skin through loose clothing. And be sure to cover as much of your skin as possible with long sleeves and pants.

Add a few birdhouses to the landscape to bring in the birds. You’ll enjoy their beauty and benefit from their diet of insects, including many garden pests and mosquitoes.

Keep the garden weeded. Mosquitoes rest in shrubs, trees and weeds during the day. Removing weeds and managing neglected garden spaces will make your landscape less inviting to these pests.

Consider using a personal repellent to protect you against disease-carrying mosquitoes. For those looking to avoid DEET, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has also approved products with the active ingredient picaridin (found in Skin so Soft products), IR3535, and the synthetic oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Avoid products that contain both sunscreen and insect repellents, as you need to apply the sunscreen more often than the repellent.

Add a bit more protection while sitting or eating outdoors. Use a fan to create a gentle breeze that keeps the weak flying mosquitoes away from you and your guests. Some gardeners even take a small fan into the garden, while weeding.

Then add a bit of ambience to your next party by lighting a few citronella candles for your evening events. Citronella oil and the scented candles do have some mosquito repelling properties. Scatter lots of candles throughout your entertainment space. Position the candles within a few feet of your guests. This can provide some short term relief from these pests for you and your guests.

Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and has written over 20 gardening book. Myers is also a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. Myers’ web site, www.melindamyers.com, offers gardening videos and tips.

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Health Department launches mosquito surveillance 

A Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment.

A Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment.

For West Nile Virus study 

Most people would like it if mosquitoes would just go away. Staff at the Kent County Health Department is collecting them by the thousands and they want more. Now through Labor Day, KCHD will place, monitor and maintain 11 mosquito traps in the following zip codes in the county 49503, 49507 and 49519. The goal of monitoring is disease prevention, specifically West Nile Virus (WNV).

The trap, called a Gravid trap, lures pregnant female mosquitoes by creating a false breeding environment. A pungent bait of grass clippings and yeast fools the insects by attracting them with carbon dioxide, a gas found in the exhaled breath of mammals. Mosquitoes end up sucked into a nylon net by a battery operated fan.

Each week, the mosquitoes that get trapped will be returned to KCHD where they will be pulverized and tested for West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne illnesses. Results will be logged along with geographic information that will provide a nearly real time picture to health authorities.

N-West-Nile-Virus-study-gravid-trap-2“We have selected these areas because we know that in the past they have been hot spots for the West Nile Virus,” said Sara Simmonds, Supervising Sanitarian with the department’s Environmental Health division. “Given our past experience, we fully expect that we will find the presence of West Nile Virus within our community. Early detection is critical to help people protect themselves from contracting the virus.”

“Knowing where the virus is located will allow municipalities to make more informed decisions about eradication practices,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer with KCHD. “West Nile Virus is a potentially debilitating illness and we know that it is largely preventable through surveillance, education and action.”

West Nile Virus was first detected in the United States in 1999. Since the first case was diagnosed in Michigan in 2001 more than 1100 people have been diagnosed with the disease and 92 people have died. In 2001 and again in 2012, Kent County had the second highest number of West Nile cases in the state. More about West Nile Virus can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/westnile/ 

The best treatment for WNV is prevention. The Kent County Health Department recommends wearing a mosquito repellant that contains 10-35 percent DEET; wearing light colored clothing; and staying indoors during dusk. You can help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing any standing water in your yard and keeping your lawn and shrubs cut.

More information about prevention can be found at https://www.accesskent.com/Health/CommDisease/pdfs/westnile_qa.pdf

A grant from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is funding the project.


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West Nile Virus in Kent County

From the Kent County Health Department


More than 40 human cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) infection were confirmed in Kent County residents last year. The caseload prompted staff at the Kent County Health Department to trap and test mosquito populations this summer. Positive results from this testing are meant to serve as an early warning system for the presence of the virus in Kent County. Last week, testing of mosquitoes collected at a random site in West Michigan

during the week yielded a result that was preliminarily positive for WNV.

“This test result confirms that the mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus are likely in our county,” said Adam London, Administrative Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “This information should encourage residents take steps to protect their families from mosquitoes.”

Only one case of illness has been confirmed in Michigan, in St. Joseph County, so far this year.

The Kent County Health Department recommends the following:

*At home, be sure you are not making it easy for mosquitoes to breed. Make sure to eliminate any standing water. Empty water from birdbaths, flower pots, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels, and cans twice a week. Make sure rain gutters are clear of debris. Throw out tarps, old tires and other items that could collect water.

*Use insect repellent when outdoors. Apply repellent to clothing and exposed skin, and always follow directions on the product label.

*Don’t apply repellent under clothing, or on cuts, wounds or irritated skin. You should not apply repellent around the eyes or mouth, and if using spray, apply spray to your hands first, and then apply to face.

*Repellent should not be used on infants under 2 months old at all. KCHD recommends putting netting over the infant’s stroller. Products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not to be used on children under three years of age.

*When using repellent on children, put it on your hands first, then on the child. Children tend to put their hands in or near their mouths, so don’t apply repellent to a child’s hands.

*After you and your children get back indoors, wash off the repellent with soap and water, and wash treated clothing before wearing again.

*Avoid areas where mosquitoes are likely to be, such as wooded areas or swampy land.

West Nile Virus can produce a range of symptoms in humans. According to the CDC, most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, though up to 20 percent may develop mild illness with symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, rash, and swollen lymph glands. Some people will develop severe illness, with severe headaches, high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and rarely, death. Persons 55 and over have the highest risk of severe disease.

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Protect Michigan pets and livestock

Vaccinate before summer


Now that it’s spring, animal health officials at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) are reminding Michigan owners that vaccinating pets and livestock protects them from diseases, even if they are exposed to an infected animal or disease-carrier, such as mosquitoes and ticks.

“Vaccinating, deworming, and routine animal health activities should occur in the spring before moving to sales, exhibitions, or even before going on vacation,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven Halstead. “State law also requires all dogs six months and older to be licensed. To get a license, an owner must show proof that a veterinarian has vaccinated the dog against rabies, and that the vaccine is current. Each year we remind animal owners of the importance of vaccinating, which not only protects the pet, but also the food-animal industry.”

Core vaccines are recommended for most pets. Additional “non-core vaccines” (e.g., feline leukemia, canine kennel cough and other vaccines) may be appropriate if the animals are going to pet care facilities, kennels, or shows where they will be co-mingling. Additionally, pet and livestock owners are encouraged to have their veterinarian check for internal parasites and heartworms.

MDARD recommends owners speak with their private veterinarian regarding the following vaccinations:

Dogs: rabies, canine distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus. In addition, owners should have the dogs checked for heartworm and intestinal parasites. Some veterinarians also recommend vaccination against leptospirosis and treatment to prevent Lyme disease.

Cats: rabies, herpes virus, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.

Horses: MDARD mandates Equine infectious anemia (EIA) testing if traveling to a public event, as part of a sale, or importing a horse into Michigan from another state; and owners should talk to their veterinarian about the following vaccines: Tetanus toxoid, rabies, Eastern and Western Equine Encephalitis, West Nile Virus, and Rhinopneumonitis (EHV-1 and EHV-4).

Horse owners should prepare to follow these tips to prevent mosquito-borne illness:

Vaccinate your horses. Inexpensive vaccines for EEE and WNV are readily available and should be repeated at least annually. It is never too late to vaccinate horses. Talk to your veterinarian for details.

Use approved insect repellants to protect horses.

If possible, put horses in stables, stalls, or barns during the prime mosquito exposure hours of dusk and dawn.

Eliminate standing water, and drain troughs and buckets at least two times a week.

Sheep and goats: CD-T toxoid provides three-way protection against enterotoxemia (overeating disease) caused by Clostridium perfringins types C and D and tetanus (lockjaw) caused by Clostridium tetani. The large animal rabies vaccine is approved for use in sheep. No rabies vaccine is currently licensed for goats.

Cattle: Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (commonly called IBR); Bovine Viral Diarrhea, PI3, BRSV (viruses causing pneumonia/sickness); Leptospirosis (5-Way); Vibriosis; Calfhood vaccination for Brucellosis; Bovine Tuberculosis testing in the Modified Accredited Area (contact MDARD for additional information).

For information on animal health fair requirements visit: http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mda/ExReq_225448_7.pdf

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Reduce exposure to mosquitoes to reduce risk of West Nile Virus

Macomb man dies of West Nile virus

(Grand Rapids, MI)—The recent changes in the weather have created ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes, increasing their population. The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) reminds residents to reduce their risk of West Nile Virus (WNV) by reducing their exposure to mosquitoes.
Although no human cases of the disease have yet been reported in Kent County, the Michigan Department of Community Health has identified a 48-year-old man from Macomb County as the state’s first probable case of West Nile Virus for 2011. The 48-year-old man was hospitalized earlier this month after showing symptoms and has since died. Because West Nile Virus is considered endemic in West Michigan, some level of infection in humans, birds, and mosquitoes are expected every year. County health officials say it is impossible to predict the number of WNV cases each year and that the months of August and September are when most human cases of WNV occur.
Since it is impossible to know how a person might react to the West Nile Virus, and whether or not any individual may become severely ill, KCHD recommends reducing exposure to mosquitoes to reduce the potential risk of WNV infection and illness. Specifically:
• Use insect repellent containing DEET. Apply insect repellent to exposed skin and spray clothing with repellents since mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing. Insect repellents containing 10-35 percent DEET are generally effective (higher concentrations work longer but are not more effective); use a DEET concentration of 10 percent or less for children. Always read and follow manufacturers’ label directions when applying insect repellent as most are not recommended for use on children under two years of age.
• Stay indoors at dawn, dusk, and in the early evening, when mosquitoes are active.
• Wear light-colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors, but especially in wooded or wetland areas.
• Make sure window and door screens are maintained in good condition to keep mosquitoes out of buildings and homes.
• Drain standing water around yards, decks, and other outdoor areas around the home. Flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, discarded tires, buckets—anything that can hold standing water—is a site in which mosquitoes can lay eggs. Change water in bird baths every three to four days (twice a week).
• Avoid activities in areas where large numbers of mosquitoes are present.
West Nile Virus can produce a range of symptoms in humans. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most people infected with WNV will have no symptoms, though up to 20 percent may develop mild illness with symptoms including: fever, headache, body aches, rash and swollen lymph glands.
Approximately one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness that may be characterized by severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis, and rarely, death. Persons 55 and over have the highest risk of severe disease.
The Health Department also offers educational presentations on West Nile Virus. The presentations are free of charge and available to groups of 10 or more throughout the year by calling the Health Department at (616) 632-7297.

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