West Nile virus found in Kent Co. mosquitoes

Mosquitoes (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – West Nile virus has been detected for the first time this season in Kent County — but it wasn’t a human case, according to a Kent County Health Department release.

The virus was discovered in the 49507 zip code area of Grand Rapids in a pool of tested mosquitoes, the release said. The health department collected the sample between Tuesday and Thursday.

In June, the county placed Gravid traps, which are used to attract mosquitoes, in the zip code areas of 49503, 49504 and 49519, in addition to where the virus was detected. The county also set four traps that attract the kind of mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus: Aedes Egypti and Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes. However – neither mosquito has been found.

KCHD Administrative Health Officer Adam London said he expects West Nile to stick around until the first frost and that just because it was discovered in the 49507 area, that doesn’t mean it’s confined there.

“We want people to be aware that they can greatly reduce their own risks by taking some simple precautions,” he said in the release.

Those precautions include:

  • Apply mosquito repellent with 10 percent to 35 percent DEET
  • Avoid being outside at dusk
  • Wear light-colored clothes
  • Remove standing water on your property and keep your yard maintained

The first Michigan case of West Nile was diagnosed in 2001, two years after it appeared in the United States. Since then, more than 1,100 people in the state have been diagnosed and 92 have died.

In 2016, West Nile was first detected in Kent County on Aug. 10.