Oakland County Man Dies from West Nile Virus Complications

Oakland County Man Dies from West Nile Virus Complications

(OCHD, Sept. 26, 2018)

Pontiac, Mich., – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has confirmed an 80-year-old man from Oakland County died due to complications from West Nile Virus (WNV), the Oakland County Health Division announced today. This is the first human WNV-related death in Oakland County since 2015 and the second this year in Michigan.

“This is a tragic reminder of how severe West Nile Virus can be, especially for adults over 50 who are at greater risk for severe illness,” said Leigh-Anne Stafford, health officer for Oakland County Health Division. “We strongly encourage residents to protect themselves from mosquitoes, even as we enter the fall season.”

Residents, especially older adults, are urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by following these instructions:

Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellant. All EPA-registered insect repellants are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions.

Be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.

Wear protective clothing such as long sleeved shirts and pants.

Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings. Do not prop open doors.


West Nile virus is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes are infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. The virus is then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, in some individuals, a more serious disease-causing inflammation and swelling of the brain can develop. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms of West Nile Virus if they do get sick.

For up-to-date public health information, visit www.oakgov.com/health or find Public Health Oakland on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC. Nurse on Call is available at 800-848-5533 or noc@oakgov.com, 8:30 a.m.- 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday.

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