GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kent County Health Department is urging people to take steps to protect themselves after finding an “unusually high” number of trapped mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus this year.
The health department says in the first 11 weeks of sampling this year, they collected 16,314 Culex mosquitoes, which typically carry the West Nile virus. That's nearly six times the number of Culex mosquitoes collected during the same period last year.
Kent County Health Department Officer Adam London says of the eight pools of 50 mosquitoes sent to labs this year, 26 percent of Culex mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus.
“I’ve been working with West Nile virus in Michigan for over 15 years and in that time… I don’t recall a year where we had surveillance data that was more concerning than what we have right now. So, I’m very concerned that people will get hurt this year if they don’t follow the precautionary measures that we recommend,” said London.
>>App users: Watch the health department's news conference here.