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Mosquitos plentiful in Michigan following heavy rains and warmer temps

A Kent County Health Department employee tests mosquitos for arboviruses, including West Nile Virus.
Kent County Health Department

It's been a mosquito-heavy July for many Michiganders. Experts say the reason for this boom is recent warmer temperatures and heavy rainfall.

Lynn Sutfin is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She says it's important for Michiganders to take preventative measures against mosquitos now to prevent the spread of disease.

"We do know that we have mosquito pools in the state that have the West Nile virus. We know that we have the Asian Tiger mosquito in the Wayne County area where it can carry diseases such as Zika," she says.

The Asian Tiger mosquito has been present in the United States for close to 40 years, but its presence in Michigan is new. This variety of mosquito lives in warmer and more tropical climates, and has been found throughout the southern U.S. Experts believe that warmer temperatures in Michigan this year have led the Asian Tiger to migrate further north. 

The Kenty County Health Department confirmed that one mosquito pool it tested was positive for the West Nile Virus. There are currently no infections in human beings or in animals, according to the MDHHS. Other mosquito pools around the state have tested positive for the James Canyon Virus, but again, no infections in humans or animals.

Recent heavy rains brought flooding to many parts of Southeast Michigan. Any standing water around your home leftover from that rain could be the perfect mosquito habitat, Sutfin says.

"Anytime you've got standing water around, you do have a good breeding environment for mosquitoes. So in cases where you have something that could be dumped out such as a bucket, a planter that's not being used or a kiddie pool that we definitely encourage folks to do that. Obviously when you have flooding that's a little bit of a heavy lift there," she says.

Sutfin and other public health officials are recommending wearing long sleeve shirts and insect repellent when venturing outdoors to prevent mosquito bites and prevent arboviruses from spreading.

Caroline is a third year history major at the University of Michigan. She also works at The Michigan Daily, where she has been a copy editor and an opinion columnist. When she’s not at work, you can find her down at Argo Pond as a coxswain for the Michigan men’s rowing team. Caroline loves swimming, going for walks, being outdoors, cooking, trivia, and spending time with her two-year-old cat, Pepper.
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