Mosquito-borne virus on the rise in Michigan

Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Mosquitoes collected from Bay, Oakland, and Saginaw counties have tested positive for the Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV) at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories (MDHHS BOL).

While JCV cases have been present around the nation, Midwest cases of the illness are on the rise. JCV can occur from late spring to mid fall, with symptoms developing anywhere from two days to two weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Initial symptoms can include fever, headache, and fatigue. If the virus worsens, it can cause meningitis, encephalitis, or severe damage to the brain or spinal cord.

JCV can be spread through mosquitoes who feed on deer or other animals who have the virus in their blood, unlike the West Nile Virus and EEE, which can be contracted from mosquitoes who feed on birds.

The best way to protect oneself against JCV, Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and the West Nile virus (WNV)?

Prevent mosquito bites.

It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness. 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.”

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health at MDHHS

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the best ways to avoid JCV and and other mosquito borne illnesses are:

  • Applying insect repellent that contains the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wearing light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Additionally, applying insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Using window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Emptying water from mosquito breeding sites around the home- buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

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