As a lot of us will spend a considerable time outdoors this Labor Day weekend, the Michigan Department of Community Health, DNR, Agricultural and Rural Development and Michigan State University want to remind people that the West Nile Virus has and continues to be a very real threat in our state.  Using some simple precautions, you can still enjoy fun times outside on the last big weekend of summer.

As of Wednesday, August 29th, there have been 80 confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Michigan, 4 of them resulting in fatalities.

Those at highest risk are the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active.  That happens at dawn and at dusk.

Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors.

Use insect repellants that contain the active ingredient DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or other EPA approved repellant.

Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes outside.

Empty water from mosquito breeding sites, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires and other place where mosquitoes lay eggs.

Most people bitten by a WNV-infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness.  However, some become sick within 3 to 15 days after exposure.  Those over 50 years of age are more susceptible to West Nile Virus.

If you feel that you are becoming sick, see a doctor as soon as possible.

For more information on West Nile Virus in Michigan, visit:  www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus

By taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy this last weekend of summer in the great Michigan outdoors!