95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

West Nile Virus Found In Mosquitoes In Kent County

Kent County Seal
Kent County

The West Nile Virus has been found in mosquitoes in Kent County.  Health Department officials say they’ve found positive specimens of the virus in at least one zip code.  It includes parts of southeast Grand Rapid and East Grand Rapids. 

“I think they just need to be vigilant. That it’s in our community. But we need to protect ourselves.”

Kent County Health Department officials in the Environmental Health division say they have found the first positive specimens of the West Nile Virus this summer in the mosquito population.  The infected mosquitoes were discovered in the 49506 zip code.   This includes parts of southeast Grand Rapids and East Grand Rapids.

“It's been in this area for about 15 years.  We were able to detect West Niles Virus in two separate mosquito colonies within those two traps .  And we should expect more before our first major frost."

Eric Pessell is the Health Department’s director for the Environmental Health Division.  He says this is not a human case but warns the public should still be vigilant.

“These are mosquitoes that have tested positive for the West Niles Virus, of course the concern there is that if a positive mowquito were to bite a human, that's how the virus could be transferred to a human."

WGVU’s earlier reports show back in June the health department started capturing and testing mosquitoes in traps placed strategically throughout the county.  Pessell says the traps and subsequent mosquito testing allows the County to alert residents and to help in prevention.

“Once we do find it, then others can take action. Like this happened to be in the city and the city of Grand Rapids was able to take immediate action in that location to try and control the mosquito population."

Pessell says prevention is critical in the fight against West Nile, an illness that can be deadly in some people.  He says armed with the knowledge that mosquitoes have been located with West Nile, residents should be reminded to take appropriate action.  This includes ridding your yard of standing water and wearing repellant that contains DEET.