GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - More cases of West Nile virus are appearing in West Michigan. The Kalamazoo County Department of Health and Community Services confirmed its first case today, and in Kent County there are now 25 cases.
Thursday, the City of Grand Rapids took action trying to stop the virus from spreading. The sewer and waste water department put larvicide in sewer grates on the southeast side of the city. Mosquitoes breed in standing water and the larvicide will kill the insects before they are able to fly.
There are also ways to protect yourself against mosquitoes. Dr. James Dunn, an entomologist at Grand Valley State University says to use a repellent with the chemical DEET. He says it's the only product proven to work. It's also recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
"Ask yourself, what's more dangerous, getting bit by a mosquito and getting West Nile Virus or put a little DEET on you? That's the way I would look at the risk." Dunn says he wouldn't recommend using it on babies, but instead, cover them up.
More tips include: Dressing appropriately. Wear long pants and long sleeve shirts. Avoid wearing perfumes, lotions, or hairsprays. Finally, don't go out unprotected during the morning or evening hours.
Some internet sites also recommend natural remedies like essential oils or rubbing vanilla extract on your pulse points. Dunn says he didn't think any of them worked, but you can give it a try.