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Health officials worried about West Nile virus in Grand Rapids area

A mosquito
flickr user trebol-a
A mosquito

Kent County health officials expect to see cases of West Nile virus before summer ends. That’s because there are way more mosquitos found with the virus compared to previous years.

County health officials have looked at mosquitos from 10 traps in the greater Grand Rapids area. They found four times as many mosquitos this year as they usually do.

Over 400 mosquitos were sampled and a quarter of them tested positive for the potentially fatal virus. But less than 1 percent of people who get the virus suffer fatal or permanent effects.   

Mark Hall, the Medical Director of the Kent County Health Department, says no cases have been reported of humans contracting the virus this year.

“But this is a red flag telling us we need to really communicate the message to protect yourself against mosquitos because it’s going to be a more risky year,” Hall said.

Hall says late summer is when most West Nile cases are reported.

Adam London, a health officer with the Kent County Health Department, says there are ways to protect yourself from mosquitos this summer.

“Using a repellent, according to label directions, a repellent that includes DEET as an active ingredient will do a great deal of benefit for you in keeping those mosquitos away,” London said.

Other ways to fend off mosquitos include avoiding dark colored clothing, dumping any standing water on your property, and reducing outdoor activity at dusk and dawn.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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