89.1 WEMU

Issues Of The Environment: Protect Yourself From Mosquito-Borne Illness This Summer

Jun 21, 2017

Aedes Aegypti Mosquito
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Mosquito Season has arrived, and, in some areas, it is hitting with a vengeance.  Unfortunately, sometimes there is more to a mosquito bite than just minor swelling and itching.  Mosquito-borne illnesses are on the increase in Michigan.  On this week’s "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair will talk with Washtenaw County Public Health Epidemiologist Laura Bauman about the West Nile, Zika, and other viruses from which you should take precautions.


Overview

    *   The Zika virus is an emerging mosquito-borne disease that has caused miscarriages and severe, permanent brain defects and damage in unborn babies.  In 2016, three cases of Zika virus were found in Washtenaw County (113 were tested); all were travel related (none in pregnant women).  Pregnant women are advised not to travel to areas where Zika is active and to avoid sexual contact with those who travel to Zika-infested areas.

    *   For now, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that transmits Zika (also dengue fever and chickangunya) appears to be unable to survive in Michigan due to the climate.  However, it does live in southern Indiana and Ohio, so climate change could expand its range.

    *   Laura Bauman, Epidemiology Program Manager for Washtenaw County Public Health, says Washtenaw County residents should also take precautions against other mosquito-borne illnesses, including West Nile virus

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu