Kent Co. Health Dept. warns of ‘serious’ West Nile season coming up

Posted at 1:26 PM, Aug 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-15 16:11:48-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Kent County Health Department is warning of a potentially serious outbreak of the West Nile virus this season.

The virus is transmitted to people via the Culex mosquito.  The department says that they have found four times as many Culex mosquitoes in traps in Kent County this season, compared to past years.  About 26% of the Culex mosquitoes trapped have been carrying the West Nile virus.

Mosquitoes are trapped in 19 locations around the Grand Rapids area. The health department says urban areas are proven to be more likely to have Culex mosquitoes, but that everyone across Kent County should be extra cautious.

No cases of West Nile have been reported yet in Kent County in 2018, but the health department suspects given the high volume of mosquitoes found in the county the chances of infection are higher than normal.  West Nile is especially dangerous to people over 60 years old, as serious complications can develop.

To reduce risk of West Nile, people should try and avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. To avoid mosquitoes, they suggest:

  • Wearing light-colored clothing
  • Wear mosquito repellent containing DEET
  • Draining standing water from your property
  • Avoid outdoor activity at dusk and at dawn