A human case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Bay County. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services made the announcement Friday. It’s the first human case of West Nile in Bay County this year, and the fifth in Michigan. Due to health privacy laws, no information about the patient has been released.

The first presence of the virus in Bay County this year was found in birds and mosquitoes in July. West Nile Virus has been detected in Bay County every year since 2002. Bay County Health Officer Joel Straz said residents are strongly encouraged to protect themselves against mosquito bites until the first hard frost. Bay County Mosquito Control continues to provide adult mosquito control in higher risk West Nile areas, marshy areas and outdoor community events, such as football games, as weather allows.

The Bay County Health Department has the following tips: 

• Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellant. All EPA-registered insect repellants are evaluated for safety and effectiveness, and will contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol as the active ingredient. Repellents containing a higher percentage of the active ingredient typically provide longer-lasting protection. Always follow the product label instructions and be careful using repellent on the hands of children as it may irritate the eyes and mouth.

• Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and pants.

• Limit outdoor activity from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

• Maintain window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of buildings. Do not prop open doors.

• Empty water from mosquito breeding sites around the home, such as buckets, unused kiddie pools, old tires or similar sites where mosquitoes may lay eggs.

• Use nets and/or fans over outdoor eating areas.

 West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus. Mosquitoes are infected with the virus by biting an infected bird. The virus is then spread to humans through the bite of the infected mosquito. Most people who are infected with the virus have either no symptoms or experience a mild illness such as fever, headache, and body aches. However, in some individuals, a more serious disease-causing inflammation and swelling of the brain can develop. People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop serious and potentially life-threatening symptoms of West Nile Virus if they do get sick.