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West Nile virus detected in Kent County mosquitoes

Posted at 10:28 AM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 10:28:52-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — West Nile virus has been detected in mosquitoes in Kent County.

The Kent County Health Department says the discovery was made during ongoing surveillance and testing of mosquitoes that were trapped in the 49506 ZIP code.

There is no cure or vaccine for West Nile virus, but you can take steps to prevent it.

"This discovery is important because it lets us know that this season’s mosquitoes are now carrying the virus and it could spread to humans,” said Paul Bellamy, Public Health Epidemiologist at KCHD. “It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible.”

The Kent County Health Department recommends the following protective measures:

• Wear a mosquito repellant that contains 10 to 35 percent DEET (read and follow product directions).

• Wear light-colored clothing and stay indoors during dusk to reduce your risk of being bitten.

• Remove or refresh water in birdbaths, children’s wading pools, water bowls for your pets, and empty other small containers that can collect water in your yard.

According to the health department, only about 20% of people infected with West Nile virus notice symptoms.

Symptoms include headache, body aches, joint pain and fatigue.

The health department says about 1 in 150 people infected develop severe illness that can affect the central nervous system.

For more information about prevention, click here.