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West Nile virus found in mosquitoes in Kent County

The discovery was made during ongoing surveillance and testing conducted by the department and is not a human case.

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — The West Nile virus has been detected in tested mosquitoes in Kent County, the health department announced Thursday.

The discovery was made during ongoing surveillance and testing conducted by the department and is not a human case. The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) made the discovery after testing pools of mosquitoes that were trapped in the 49506 ZIP code.

“This discovery is important because it lets us know that this season’s mosquitoes are now carrying the virus and it could spread to humans,” said Paul Bellamy, public health epidemiologist at KCHD. “It is important for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites as much as possible.”

According to KCHD, West Nile virus does not have a vaccine or a cure. Due to this, prevention is the best treatment. The department provided the following tips to avoid the virus:

  • Wear a mosquito repellant that contains 10 to 35 percent DEET (read and follow product directions)
  • Wear light colored clothing and stay indoors during dusk to reduce your risk of being bitten
  • Remove or refresh water in bird baths, children’s wading pools, water bowls for your pets, and empty other small containers that can collect water in your yard.

The detection of the virus comes as West Michigan experiences what public health officials call a “mosquito boom” caused by rain and rising temperatures.

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