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West Nile Virus is Becoming Epidemic in Michigan

flickr/ trebol-a

Last week I wrote a blog regarding the West Nile Virus, and the seemingly epidemic proportion of it around the country, especially in Dallas, Texas.  At that time, we had 24 confirmed cases in Michigan and we were being cautioned to take care.  There were 5 Kent County cases.  Well today, it’s much worse.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) says West Nile Virus is at its peak in Michigan and there are now 80 reported cases in the state and four deaths. The latest death was an 86-year-old woman in Wayne County. As if that’s not enough, there are currently 23 cases of West Nile Virus in Kent County. All of the deaths have been on the east side of the state.

Our news partner, WZZM TV13, and reporter Val Lego, says there have been 62 hospitalizations this year for encephalitis or meningitis contracted from being bitten by a mosquito with West Nile Virus.

Also, they report that the highest concentrations of West Nile outbreaks have been seen in Kent County and the Detroit area. The close proximity of housing, sewers and catch basins makes for a perfect breeding ground for the Northern House Mosquito which carries West Nile Virus. These mosquitoes come out at night and can easily find their way into homes, biting residents while they sleep. Your best protection against these mosquitoes is to keep your windows closed and wear repellant when outdoors.

Grand Rapids is fighting back by placing packets of biological larvicide aimed at killing the mosquitos in storm water catch basins .  The bacteria pellets dissolve in the sump of the catch basin, the bacteria come out and they kill the larva of the mosquito’s to help rid us of the “mosquito factories.”

The area being treated is bounded by Breton to the east and Division to the west and by 32nd Street to the south and Hall to the north.


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