US state of Michigan has identified first two human cases of a mosquito-borne virus in 2023.
Two people residing in Michigan have been reported to have Jamestown Canyon virus (JCV), a virus transmitted through mosquito bites. These cases, found in Macomb and Oakland counties, mark the first instances of human arboviral illnesses reported in the state this year. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging residents to safeguard themselves against all mosquito-borne illnesses, including JCV, West Nile virus (WNV), and Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus (EEE), by taking measures to prevent mosquito bites.
Throughout the summer, mosquito pools in Bay, Saginaw, and Washtenaw counties have tested positive for JCV. Additionally, mosquitoes carrying WNV have been identified in Kalamazoo, Wayne, and Washtenaw counties. The risk of contracting mosquito-borne illnesses tends to increase statewide during the mosquito season, reaching its peak in August and September.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, the MDHHS chief medical executive, emphasized the importance of protecting oneself from infected mosquitoes, as a single mosquito bite could lead to severe illness. She advised using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants, while outdoors during peak mosquito activity hours, which typically occur from dusk to dawn.
Jamestown Canyon virus and other similar viruses are transmitted when mosquitoes feed on infected animals and then bite humans. Most people infected with the virus exhibit no symptoms, but some may experience illness within two to 14 days after being bitten. Common symptoms include high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, and severe headaches. In more severe cases, individuals may develop neurological complications like meningitis and encephalitis.
To prevent mosquito-borne illnesses, it is important to minimize mosquitos around homes and adopt personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.