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State efforts to combat West Nile have reduced cases

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Michigan is making progress against West Nile.

600 people were infected with West Nile in 2002 when the mosquito-borne virus first appeared.

Last year, there were only 34 cases.

Angela Minicuci is with the state Department of Community Health.

She says many cities now regularly flush out the stagnant pools of water where mosquitos that carry West Nile  breed.

She says individual homeowners' efforts are also contributing to fewer cases.

"Much of it can also be attributed to people taking the effort on their own as well to flush out the water around their home," says Minicuci.  "So think of your storm drains, ditches, retention ponds, maybe your bird baths, kiddie pools, around your home, where that water is not being consistently flushed out by heavy rain, that's usually a sign that's a breeding ground for this species of mosquito."

People should also make sure their window and door screens are in good repair.  The mosquito that carries West Nile has a tendency to get inside homes and bite after people have fallen asleep.

So far, there have been no cases of West Nile infection reported to the state.

But Minicuci says mosquitos carrying the virus have been found in a monitored water body in Saginaw County.


Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.