GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A mosquito has been detected with West Nile virus, according to the Kent County Health Department. The discovery comes after testing pools of mosquitoes that the Kent County Health Department has been monitoring in the 49506 ZIP code, which encompasses East Grand Rapids and portions of Grand Rapids.
Brendan Earl, supervising sanitarian for the Kent County Health Department, urges residents of West Michigan to use caution and find ways to prevent mosquito bites. Prevention is the best treatment, as there is no vaccine or cure to the West Nile virus currently. The Health Department suggests using mosquito repellent that contains 10% to 35% DEET, wear light-colored clothing, stay indoors during dusk, and removing stagnant water near your home. Remember to remove or refresh water in bird baths, personal pools, water bowls for pets, and containers that collect water in your yard.
The Kent County Health Department states that the West Nile virus is primarily spread by Culex mosquitoes, which are known to bite no matter the time of day. Therefore, it is best to practice mosquito prevention at all times of the day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states, "Fortunately, most people infected with West Nile virus do not feel sick. About one in five people who are infected develop a fever and other symptoms. About 1 out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness."
With the recent persistent rainfall, it has had a direct correlation with the amount of mosquitoes in West Michigan. Since mosquitoes thrive in stagnant water, the rainfall has allowed for additional puddling opportunities.