First West Nile Virus Human Case Reported In Muskegon County

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

August 4, 2006

State health officials today have confirmed the first human West Nile Virus (WNV) case of the 2006 season in Muskegon County.

A 37-year-old Muskegon woman with underlying health conditions tested positive for the disease, said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. She was first hospitalized with complications from the disease one month ago. The patient later died, but officials cannot yet determine if the death was related to the West Nile Virus.

“While we have seen WNV present in the bird and mosquito populations this year in Michigan, this is the first human case to be detected,” Olszewski said. “It remains extremely important for residents to use appropriate precautions when outside to limit their exposure to mosquitoes. We will continue to work closely with health departments and hospitals across the state to monitor WNV activity.”

Last year Michigan experienced 62 human cases of WNV and there were four deaths reported. Nationwide, 87 WNV cases have been reported this year, including 3 deaths, from 17 states. So far in Michigan, 43 birds have been found to be positive for West Nile out of 158 birds tested. West Nile positive birds have been found in 26 Michigan counties.

Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke during the summer months.

Michigan residents are encouraged to:

  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes out of buildings.
  • Drain puddles in the yard, and empty water from mosquito breeding sites such as buckets, troughs, barrels, cans, old tires, or similar sites.
  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active (dawn and dusk).
  • Wear light colored long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.
  • Apply insect repellants that contain the active ingredient DEET to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer’s directions for use. (Avoid applying repellent to children less than two years of age containing DEET.)

Citizens are encouraged to click on www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus for additional information on West Nile virus.