Thursday, June 30, 2022

First mosquito-borne virus of 2022 detected in Michigan mosquitoes

June 23, 2022
<p>Masters student Joel Anderson belays a climber during an outing with the MSU Outdoors Club on June 10, 2014, at Oak Park in Grand Ledge, Mich. Anderson has been climbing for a year and a half. </p>

Masters student Joel Anderson belays a climber during an outing with the MSU Outdoors Club on June 10, 2014, at Oak Park in Grand Ledge, Mich. Anderson has been climbing for a year and a half.

Photo by Danyelle Morrow | The State News

Mosquitos that were collected for testing by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Laboratories, or MDHHS BOL, in Bay County have tested positive for Jamestown Canyon Virus, or JCV. JCV is the first mosquito-borne virus to be detected in 2022.

JCV is spread to mosquitos when they feed on animals that have the virus in their blood. JCV is spread to people when they are bit by infected mosquitos. MDHHS said that most of these cases occur during late spring through mid-fall.

In a statement, MDHHS reminded residents that the best way to protect against JCV or other mosquito-borne illnesses is to prevent mosquito bites.

“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” MDHHS Chief Medical Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said in a statement. “We urge Michiganders to take precautions such as using an EPA-registered insect repellent when outdoors, avoiding areas where mosquitoes are present if possible, and wearing clothing to cover arms and legs to prevent bites.”

It may take up to two weeks for illness to develop following an infected mosquito bite. Most symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. In rare cases, it can cause disease in the brain and spinal cord.

The Midwest has seen an increase in JCV cases. It's not certain if this increase reflects an increase in testing or an increase in the presence of the virus.

Mosquitos carry the risk of spreading disease every summer. JCV infected six Michigan residents in 2021, Eastern Equine Encephalitis infected one person and West Nile Virus infected 46 people, with seven cases resulting in death.

The MDHHS offered the following tips to help residents avoid mosquito-borne illnesses.

  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, or other EPA-approved products to exposed skin or clothing. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wear light-colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors. Apply insect repellent to clothing to help prevent bites.
  • Maintain window and door screening to help keep mosquitoes outside.
  • Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes lay eggs.

For more information, visit Michigan.gov/EmergingDiseases.

Ingham Country Health Officer Linda Vail was not available for comment at the time of publication.

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