State health dept.: 30 Zika cases in West Mich.

In this Jan. 18, 2016, file photo, a female Aedes aegypti mosquito, known to be a carrier of the Zika virus, acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute of Sao Paulo University in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (AP Photo/Andre Penner, File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — State health officials say there are confirmed cases of Zika virus in 30 people in West Michigan.

In all of the cases, the virus was contracted while the people involved were in other countries, according a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The number of cases in West Michigan by county:

  • Allegan: 1
  • Barry: 1
  • Calhoun: 1
  • Ionia: 2
  • Kalamazoo: 4
  • Kent: 11
  • Muskegon: 1
  • Ottawa: 9

The Kent County Health Department confirms to 24 Hour News 8 that there are nine confirmed and two probable cases.

The Kalamazoo County Health Department said it has three confirmed cases and one probable case, all involving males.  Kalamazoo health officials say four more test results are pending.

The Kalamazoo County Health Department says it’s tested 24 people.  All of the confirmed cases involve people who traveled to other countries affected by the Zika virus.

Zika virus is spread by by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are not found in Michigan. They are more common in tropical and subtropical areas. The illness is not typically serious, mainly consisting of mild symptoms like fever, rash, joint pain, and red, itchy eyes. It can last about a week. Often, people who are infected don’t show any symptoms.

However, health officials say the virus can cause serious birth defects when contracted by pregnant women. None of the cases in Michigan are in pregnant women.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say there are a there are a total of 45 Zika cases in Michigan. That figure was last updated on Sept. 7.

Congress has long had funding to fight Zika in the works, but Republicans’ $1.1 billion measure has been delayed by political differences and is currently stalled in the Senate. Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, released this statement blaming the problem on Democrats:

“The House passed bipartisan legislation to combat zika and protect the American people back in June. Now here we are in September and Senate Democrats have continually gone back on their word and blocked this important legislation providing research dollars, assistance to communities impacted by zika, and resources to prevent the spread of the virus itself. People are fed up with Washington for precisely this type of behavior. It’s absolutely shameful that Senate Democrats are more concerned with making this a campaign issue than the safety of the American people.”

Senate Democrats’ problem with the bill is that part of it would make Planned Parenthood clinics in Puerto Rico ineligible for grants to provide medical care and contraception to fight the virus. That aspect of the bill was backed by anti-abortion forces.

–The Associated Press’ Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.



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