Just weeks after Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), a rare mosquito-borne virus, was detected in Michigan officials are warning of another disease that has just been confirmed-- and this one hits a little closer to home!

On Thursday, July 20 authorities at Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services (HCS) shared,

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Through its seasonal mosquito surveillance efforts, the Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department's Environmental Health Division reports the first positive detection of West Nile Virus in Kalamazoo County and the second in Michigan this year.

So now what?

Environmental Health Division Manager Lucus Pols adds,

The results demonstrate why mosquito surveillance is so important in Kalamazoo County. Early detection is the key to notifying our community of the continued need to be vigilant in mosquito-bite prevention.

Where Was it Found?

Officials say the virus was detected in a group of same-species female mosquitos, or a "mosquito pool", within Kleinstruck Nature Preserve. The 48-acre preserve is located in Kalamazoo between Howard and Whites Rd. near the Westnedge Hill area, and is owned and managed by Western Michigan University.

What Are the Symptoms?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) West Nile Virus is the leading cause of mosquito-borne illness in the country. While most people infected with West Nile Virus may not show signs of infection, 20% may develop mild flu-like symptoms.

Symptoms include: fever, headache, body aches, and fatigue. Those who are immuno-compromised or are older may develop more severe complications-- which is why it's important to avoid getting bit in the first place!

How to Avoid Mosquito Bites

While the HCS says they will continue to monitor mosquito pools through September in Southwest Michigan, it's important that you do your part to stay healthy. Experts recommend the following:

  • Use any EPA-registered insect repellent with DEET, picaridin, or IR3535.
  • Wear protective clothing when outside during active mosquito hours such as long-sleeve shirts and long pants. Pre-treating them with .5% permethrin is advised.
  • Eliminate standing water to minimize breeding opportunities
  • Ensure windows and doors are well screened and secure
  • Avoid peak mosquito hours. Generally they're most active around sunrise and sunset.

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