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Mosquito carrying Jamestown Canyon Virus discovered in Kent County trap

Mosquito bite photo
CDC Public Health Image Library (PHIL) via Wikimedia | Public Domain
Mosquito bite

The Kent County Health Department says it’s turned up a mosquito in one of its traps carrying the rare Jamestown Canyon Virus.

Over the past decade, the Kent County Health Department has been recording an uptick in mosquito borne viruses. Epidemiologists say increasing temperatures, milder winters and increased rainfall are causing mosquito populations to grow.

Surveillance and testing of traps in Grand Rapids 49504 zip code detected the first mosquito carrying the Jamestown Canyon Virus. It’s not the first case in Michigan. It’s been detected throughout much of the Midwest.

“Jamestown Canyon Virus is not something that is incredibly alarming.”

Paul Bellamy is Kent County Public Health Epidemiologist. He explains the disease is rare describing infection symptoms.

“Fever, headaches, general fatigue. These are associated with this pathogen. And in sever cases, you can get infections in the brain causing encephalitis or meningitis, but this virus in a majority of cases does not cause severe illness.”

Prevention includes applying mosquito repellant containing 10 to 35% DEET. Wearing light colored clothing and long-sleeved shirts and pants, staying indoors during dusk and removing or refreshing water in bird baths, kiddie pools and any other yard receptacles collecting water.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.