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Officials say West Nile watch shouldn't end just yet

West Nile Virus graphic
West Nile Virus graphic

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - It’s September, but the mosquito watch shouldn’t end just yet. After an invasion of the biting pests early in the summer due to rainy weather, it looked like it might turn into a bad season for mosquito borne illnesses and then the year’s first human case of West Nile was reported in July by the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency. That exposure to the virus that hospitalized a man over 50-years old in the Southwest corner of St. Joseph County wasn’t followed by a lot of other cases. Actually, that was the only human case of West Nile reported with five blood donor screening samples that tested positive.

However, the Dept. of Agriculture has just confirmed two more cases in horses in Ingham and Kent Counties, and they are urging horse owners to get their animals vaccinated.  There is no vaccine for humans.  Last year there were 202 positive human tests and 17 fatalities blamed on the virus in Michigan.

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