West Nile virus in the U.P

HOUGHTON–West Nile virus is an infection that emerges every summer in the Upper Peninsula, due to warm weather and mosquitoes. A crow in Houghton was recently found to have been infected by the west Nile virus, but what does that mean for individuals in the area?

Very few people actually get ill from this infection, around eighty percent of people who become infected by west Nile, don’t even know they’ve been affected due to the minimal to obsolete symptoms. Less than one percent of people infected, will experience any serious symptoms.

The best way to avoid the infection is mosquito prevention, which includes wearing light or loose clothing, eliminate standing water in the home, ensuring all screens are working with no punctures, and using insect repellent. Although mosquito bites are common in the summertime, that doesn’t guarantee you will develop the infection.

“It’s not likely, most likely you would never know you’ve been exposed. The way they determine if someone has been exposed to see what amount circulates in a population, is when they screen blood bank donations and we then get an idea, because people are unaware that they’ve actually been exposed,” said Local Public Health Medical Director, Dr. Terry Frankovich.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, you can visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at www.cdc.org.