(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is urging Michiganders to protect themselves against mosquito bites as the first mosquito-borne virus in 2021 has been identified.
According to a press release from the MDHHS, mosquitoes found in Bay, Oakland and Saginaw counties tested positive for Jamestown Canyon virus or JCV. Mosquitoes can become infected and spread the virus when they feed on deer or other animals that have the virus in their blood.
JCV sickened three Michigan residents in 2020 while there were 32 reported cases of West Nile virus and four cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis.
The MDHHS says most cases of JCV happen in late spring to early fall. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. In rare cases, it can cause severe disease in the brain and/or spinal cord.
“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS, in a press release. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present if possible and wearing clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent bites.”
The MDHHS has made the following recommendations:
- Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow 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.
- 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.