West Nile Virus Confirmed In Kent County!

June 27th, 2024 by Tuff Turf Molebusters

 

 

 

 

The diligent team at the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) has successfully identified the presence of West Nile virus (WNV) in mosquitoes within Kent County. This important discovery results from their continuous monitoring efforts carried out every Summer. Following the testing of mosquito pools captured in the 49525 ZIP code, encompassing Grand Rapids, Plainfield Township, and Grand Rapids Charter Township, KCHD remains vigilant in safeguarding the community against potential health threats. With their proactive approach and dedication, KCHD ensures timely interventions to protect public health and well-being, providing a sense of security to the residents of Kent County.

The Mosquito Surveillance Team is crucial in our efforts to combat West Nile Virus. Their work, tirelessly trapping numerous mosquitoes across different sites in Kent County, is of utmost importance. Once the team has collected these mosquito pools, they conduct tests to identify the presence of WNV. The valuable data they gather is then shared with relevant municipalities where the virus is detected. This information empowers these agencies to tailor effective mosquito control measures based on the insights provided by the team’s surveillance efforts, a work that we all should appreciate.

This discovery is earlier than in previous years, indicating a need for heightened vigilance and preventive measures,” said Brendan Earl, Supervising Sanitarian at KCHD. “It lets us know that this season’s mosquitoes are now carrying the virus, which could spread to humans. It is crucial for people to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites to reduce the risk of infection.

In 2023, the emergence of West Nile virus in Kent County was not reported until early August. This delay allowed public health officials to implement proactive measures to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the community. By swiftly addressing this issue, authorities were able to raise awareness, conduct thorough surveillance, and engage in practical mosquito control efforts to safeguard the well-being of residents and mitigate the impact of the virus.

West Nile virus is a severe health concern, with around 80% of those infected remaining asymptomatic, experiencing symptoms like body aches, joint pain, and fatigue. It’s important to understand that although most individuals fully recover, approximately 1 in 150 cases progress to severe illness affecting the central nervous system. Recovery from this can be prolonged, and in some unfortunate instances, the consequences can be permanent or fatal. This highlights the critical need for preventive actions to safeguard against such risks and protect public health.

Without a vaccine or cure for West Nile virus, the KCHD’s emphasis on preventative measures is a proactive approach to safeguarding public health. By promoting awareness and education on effective preventive strategies, such as eliminating standing water and using insect repellent, individuals can take charge of their well-being and contribute to the collective effort to minimize the risk of infection. This focus on prevention empowers communities to make informed choices and underscores the importance of individual responsibility in maintaining a healthy and resilient society.


Fight the Bite

June 6th, 2017 by ifiadmin

Now that warmer weather is here, it’s important to take precautions against mosquito and tick bites. While we, in Michigan, are at a low risk for Zika, Michigan mosquitoes can carry illnesses such as West Nile virus (WNV) and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE), and ticks can carry illnesses such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Those with the highest risk of illness caused by WNV are adults 50 years of age and older, but we’re not just talking people. Horses and other animals can be targets for mosquito-borne viruses such as EEE and our dogs and cats are susceptible to tick-borne diseases like Lyme Disease. Mosquitoes could also carry the heartworm larvae.

The easy answer is to avoid these little miscreants, but we love our outdoor activities. Avoiding ticks is a bit easier than mosquitoes. During May, June, and July, if you are in tick infested areas, walk in the center of trails to avoid contact with overgrown grass, brush, and leaf litter at trail edges.

Tuff Turf Molebusters helps you ‘fight the bite’ with our professional mosquito spraying and treating your lawn against fleas and ticks (free with our mosquito program).


Mosquitos and You

March 11th, 2016 by ifiadmin

Aedes_aegypti_mosquitoMosquitoes spreading the Zika Virus is one of the hottest topics on the national news. Before that it was West Nile Virus.

It’s believed that 4 in 5 people with the virus don’t show any symptoms, and the primary transmitter for the disease, the Aedes mosquito species, is both widespread and challenging to eliminate. That means that fighting Zika requires raising awareness on how people can protect themselves. Google, whose mission is helping people find information, is providing UNICEF with a $1 million grant to help their efforts in analyzing, mapping and getting out information on the virus.

First, we were told to not worry because Zika Virus would not come to the U.S. A month later, the Zika virus was discovered in Texas, but not to worry because it would not come to the Midwest. A few weeks later, a woman in Indiana was diagnosed with the Zika Virus, but not to worry because it won’t come to Michigan. Then, a week later it was diagnosed in a woman in Lansing.

Zika Virus is spreading throughout the U.S. almost as quick as the promises by the presidential candidates. Zika Virus causes severe, permanent neurological disorders. It is spread by mosquitoes and once in the human system, it can be spread via sex.

Mosquitoes are the largest threat to our health. There were 5 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Michigan last September. While our mosquito program cannot eliminate every mosquito or prevent any diseases, it significantly reduces the mosquito population. You will be able to enjoy the outdoors and not get eaten alive.