West Nile Virus

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:
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes may be present.
  • Avoid outdoor activities when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by removing standing water around your home:
  • Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of homes and buildings. Do not prop open doors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
“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 Oakland County Michigan Health Division.