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West Nile virus confirmed in Marquette County

MARQUETTE — The Marquette County Health Department was notified Monday that two hawks from the county have tested positive for West Nile virus.

The presence of WNV in wild bird populations is a strong indication that WNV is carried by local mosquitoes in Marquette County and throughout the Upper Peninsula, the MCHD said in a news release.

Marquette County and U.P. residents are urged to take precautions and protect themselves from mosquito bites to avoid contracting WNV.

Symptoms of WNV occur three to 15 days after becoming infected from a mosquito bite and include fever, headache, body aches and sometimes skin rashes and/or swollen glands. In some cases, the virus can cause encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can be fatal or cause permanent brain damage.

Those who develops any of these symptoms are urged to contact their health care provider.

To avoid mosquito bites, the MCHD recommends:

— Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET or other U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved products to exposed skin or clothing, and always following the manufacturer’s directions for use.

— Wear 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 might lay eggs.

— Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

Mosquito-borne illness will continue to be a risk in Michigan until late fall, when nighttime temperatures consistently fall below freezing.

For more information about mosquito-borne diseases, go online to Michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

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