The Division assists local municipalities by packaging and forwarding animal specimens to the State laboratory for testing. Life threatening diseases such as rabies and West Nile virus must be identified with expediency so that appropriate medical attention may be administered.
Viruses and bacteria can cause encephalitis [an inflammation of the brain] or meningitis [inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord]. Many individuals infected with the virus do not become ill, however, in those who become ill, most infections are mild. In 1999 and 2000, it caused an outbreak of human encephalitis in and around New York City. It is not known how West Nile was introduced in the United States.
Infected mosquitoes are the primary source for West Nile Virus. Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile Virus when they feed on infected birds that carry the virus in their blood. Those infected mosquitoes can then transmit West Nile Virus to humans and other animals while biting them to take in blood. West Nile encephalitis is not transmitted from person-to-person.
Most infections are mild, and symptoms include body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands. More severe infection may be marked by headache, high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis. Persons with severe or unusual headaches should seek medical care as soon as possible.
Everyone is susceptible to West Nile encephalitis or meningitis in areas where virus activity has been identified; however, less than 1% of people who get bitten by an infected mosquito will become severely ill.
There is no vaccine for West Nile encephalitis. However, a person with severe disease, intensive supportive therapy is indicated: hospitalization, intravenous fluids, airway management, respiratory support (ventilator) if needed, prevention of secondary infections (pneumonia, urinary tract, etc.), and good nursing care.
American crows are susceptible to West Nile Virus infection. Therefore, crows, ravens and blackbirds found dead less than 48 hours should be reported to the Michigan Department of Community Health's hotline number at (888) 668-0869, or access the State's west nile virus web site at www.michigan.gov/westnilevirus.
*Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions should call to arrange a time to drop off dead birds. Health officials urge residents to use gloves to avoid touching dead birds, which should placed in a plastic bag and sealed in a container. Residents who have questions about West Nile Virus can call the Wayne County Department of Public Health's West Nile Virus hotline at: (734) 727-7445.
Wayne County, MI - Residents can help public health officials detect the presence of West Nile Virus in local communities by dropping off dead birds at Wayne County Department of Public Health's Environmental Health Division.
Residents should call to arrange a time to drop off dead birds. Health officials urge residents to use gloves to avoid touching dead birds, which should placed in a plastic bag and sealed in a container. Residents who have questions about West Nile Virus can call the Wayne County Department of Public Health's West Nile Virus hotline at: (734) 727-7445.