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West Nile Virus found in Kent County mosquitoes

The mosquitoes were trapped in the 49504 and 49525 zip codes.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) announced Tuesday three presumptive positive cases of mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus in the county.

The discovery comes after testing pools of mosquito remains were trapped in the 49504 and 49525 zip codes. The health department noted these were not human cases. 

“Discovering these cases in mosquitoes should serve as a reminder to everyone who lives in West Michigan that West Nile Virus season is upon us,” Brendan Earl, Supervising Sanitarian at KCHD said. “It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible.”

West Nile Virus

There is no vaccine or cure for West Nile, so the best treatment is prevention. 

The KCHD recommends wearing a mosquito repellent that contains between 10-35% DEET, wearing light-colored clothing and staying indoors during dusk. 

Help stop mosquitoes from breeding by removing or refreshing water in bird bath's, kiddie pools and water bowls for pets. Empty all other small containers that can collect water. Keep lawn and shrubs trimmed. 

More information about prevention can be found on the county's website.

The county says only about 20% of the people infected with the virus, which is spread primarily by infected Culex mosquitoes, will notice symptoms. Those symptoms include headache, body aches, joint pains and fatigue. Fatigue can last weeks or even months, but KCHD says most people recover from the virus. 

"About 1 in 150 people infected develop severe illness that can affect the central nervous system. Recovery from this type of West Nile virus may take several months. Some damage to the central nervous system can be permanent. In rare instances the disease can lead to death," reads a press release from the county. 

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