West Nile Virus

Nothing new here but BE AWARE!  It is unlikely that the problem is gone.  Let's both work on this together.


For Immediate Release


Older Adults Urged to Protect Themselves from West Nile Virus

Pontiac, Mich., July 12, 2016 – Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is reminding all residents, especially older adults, to protect themselves from the threat of West Nile Virus (WNV) by taking steps to prevent mosquito bites. Earlier this month, a mosquito pool tested positive for WNV in Oakland County. WNV has also been identified in mosquitoes in Saginaw County.

“West Nile Virus continues to be monitored by Oakland County Health Division,” Patterson said. “There are a numbers of ways to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.”

Residents are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these instructions:

  • Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellant. All EPA-registered insect repellants are evaluated for safety and effectiveness. Always follow the product label instructions.
  • Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes may be present.
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of homes and buildings. Do not prop open doors.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home:
    Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out items that hold water such as tires, buckets, planters, toys, pools, birdbaths, flowerpots, roof gutters or trash containers.

“All residents are strongly urged to follow prevention tips to protect themselves from WNV, especially people over 60, and those with medical problems, who are the most likely to suffer from the severe form of West Nile Virus and are at the highest risk of death,” said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager/health officer. “Most people infected with West Nile Virus do not have any symptoms, but for those who do become sick, the disease can be serious, even fatal.”

West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne disease spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Most people who are infected with the virus have no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache and body aches. However, in some individuals, particularly the elderly, a much more serious disease affecting the brain tissue can develop. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever, signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health or find Public Health Oakland on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES ONLY: Contact Kathy Forzley, health officer/manager of the Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.



Battle Plan

The Department of Public Services Sewer Division will continue to clean the 4,500 catch basins under its responsibility. In May, they will send crews out to drop larvicide briquettes in each basin. These briquettes, which last 150 days, prevent mosquito larva from maturing into adults, reducing the summer mosquito population significantly. Basins will be tested periodically to assure that the larvicide is doing its job.

The Streets and Facilities Division is responsible for treating areas of standing water in the parks, commercial and industrial areas such as storm water retention and detention ponds, and fountains with larvicide. They also set traps in a number of areas. These traps monitor the mosquito activity in that area.

Code Enforcement staff, as they drive the City, are scouting out problem areas. Artificial containers that may hold standing water include old tires, oil drums, birdbaths, etc. They are stressing to residents and business owners that these “containers’ serve as the perfect mosquito breeding area if water is allowed to collect and stand.

What can you do for yourself and for the City?

The best way for each and every one of us to fight West Nile Virus is to practice the 3 R’s – Reduce, Repel, Report.

1. Reduce areas of standing water around your home. Eave troughs, birdbaths, children’s toys, swimming pools with and without covers, bottles, pails, jars, tires – anywhere that water is allowed to collect and become stagnant will become a breeding place for mosquitoes.  If you need it, empty it and make sure it stays empty. If you don’t need it, throw it away!

2. Repel – If you are planning to spend time outdoors, use a mosquito repellant before you go out. Use commercial repellant with a 20% to 30% mix of DEET (N,N Diethyl-meta toluamide) found in well known brands such as Cutters, Off, etc. DEET-based repellants should not be used on infants. Children ages 2 to 6 can tolerate no more than a 10% solution. Care must be taken to avoid the eyes when administering repellants.

Proper clothing can go a long way to providing protection. Make sure that you and your children were long sleeves and pants during the primary mosquito biting times from sunset to midnight.  Also check your window and door screens. Have them repaired to keep you safe inside, while mosquitoes stay outside.

3. Report – Dead birds should be reported to Oakland County at the 1-877-377-3641 hotline.  Also report any stagnant or standing water that you cannot remove yourself by calling 248-589-2294.
The City is aware of many of the drainage problems that exist. Every effort is being made to repair these problems as quickly as possible. Limited resources mean that we must ask you to help.  Sweeping water from depressions to spread it out after spring and summer showers will reduce areas of standing water until repairs can be made. A simple garage broom is an effective weapon in the fight against WNV.

  kuhn westnile

Although there is no cure for West Nile infection, you should report the following symptoms to your physician: high fever, headache, backache, fatigue, nausea, and rash.  Flu-like symptoms outside of flu season may be West Nile Virus.

 If you or anyone in your family who lives in Madison Heights are clinically diagnosed with WNV, please call the Department of Public Services at 248-589-2294. We need to know where the person was when they were bitten and when it happened. This information will be used to track the virus and monitor prevention efforts.



Websites to visit for more information:

Oakland County Health Division

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Saginaw County Mosquito Abatement Commission

Michigan Mosquito Control Association

American Mosquito Control Association


Information on WNV taken from:

The Detroit News