Area health officials are warning about the dangers of mosquito-borne illnesses as we enter fully into summer.

The Barry-Eaton District Health Department says that since 2001, West Nile Virus has shown up every year in communities around Michigan; so far in 2018 however, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services says that only mosquito populations in the Thumb and Midland areas have tested positive for West Nile.

No humans so far have tested positive for West Nile, according to the MDHHS. However, in 2017 there was one case in Kalamazoo County, and in 2016 there was one each in Kalamazoo and Calhoun Counties. 

West Nile is spread most commonly by mosquito bites, and cannot be transferred by person-to-person contact; therefore, the best way to protect yourself from the illness is to use things like insect repellent and mosquito netting, and to avoid allowing breeding grounds like buckets of water to stand for too long.

Keep an eye out for dead birds as well, as that can be a sign of West Nile.  You can report dead or dying birds and other animals to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources by following this link. 

Those infected with West Nile often have symptoms including fever, body aches, and occasionally skin rash and swollen glands. It’s recommended to go to the doctor of these symptoms occur.