Person contracts West Nile virus in Ottawa County

Posted at 10:42 AM, Sep 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-04 10:43:36-04

LANSING, Mich. – The first human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported in Michigan for 2015, and one case was from Ottawa County.

The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services announced Friday that three human cases have been reported in Michigan so far.  The other two were in Macomb and Monroe County.

“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 in a press release.  “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

The Health Department encourages residents 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.

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. People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms.

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.