BAY COUNTY, MI — A group of mosquitoes collected by researchers in Bay County have tested positive for a deadly mosquito-borne virus, Michigan State Health Officials announced Thursday. Researchers detected the deadly Jamestown Canyon virus, which is a virus spread through mosquitoes that fed on deer or other animals with the virus, officials said. This is the first infected mosquito pool detected in 2022.
Although health officials did not report any Michigan cases so far, six Michiganders were sickened by the Jamestown Canyon virus in 2021. While most people do not become ill from an infected mosquito bit, initial symptoms can include fever, headache and fatigue. In rare cases, it can cause severe disease in the brain and/or spinal cord including encephalitis and meningitis. Symptoms typically occur within a few days after the bite, health officials said.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the virus or medicines to treat it.
“It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness,” MDHHS chief medical executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian said. “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. Even though the Jamestown Canyon virus is found throughout the country, state health officials warned Michiganders the virus is increasing in the Midwest.Mosquito bites can also cause other mosquito-borne illnesses, such as the Eastern Equine Encephalitis and West Nile virus. There were 46 West Nile cases with seven fatalities and one case of EEE last year. Health officials recommended the following steps to prevent infected mosquito bites:
- 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.