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Posted on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 2 p.m.

West Nile virus update: Number of cases in Washtenaw County rises to three

By Amy Biolchini

The number of West Nile virus cases in Washtenaw County has risen to three, and 178 cases have been reported in the state, the Michigan Department of Community Health reports.

A woman who was between the ages of 75 and 85 from Washtenaw County was the first death in the state this year from the virus. Soon after her death, reported in mid-August, a second case in the county was reported. The third case surfaced recently.


West Nile virus is transmitted to humans from birds by mosquitoes.

Evans Caglage | AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News

As of Friday, West Nile virus had been detected in 148 people and blood donations in the state. Six people have died, with the most recent death that of an elderly man in Grand Rapids.

The highest numbers of sickness in Michigan are in Kent and Wayne counties, as well as in the city of Detroit.

In Kent County, there have been two deaths from the virus and it had been detected in 32 people and blood donations this summer. In Wayne County, where West Nile has also caused two deaths and was detected in 40 people and blood donations.

One person has died in Detroit from the virus, and it has been detected in 22 people and blood donations.

West Nile virus is carried by birds and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes.

The state says there were 34 cases and two deaths from the virus in 2011.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 9:47 p.m.

I don't think the reporter is trying to scare people, I think she is informing people. There's no scare tactics in the article.....just the raw data from the number of cases in Michigan. I appreciate the information. Thanks Ms Biolchini.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 8:46 p.m.

It's amazing to me that this is still making the news and trying to scare people. Just be smart - use insect repellent. The rest is out of our hands. In my opinion.


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 7:46 p.m.

Information on West Nile Virus from the CDC:


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

curious how this compares to flu or even cold related deaths in previous years


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

Wasn't trying to compare methods or reasoning behind infection or the spread of West nile. My point was "Is the coverage worth it compared to flu/cold". seems to focus on contraction aside from facts or comparison. As you've said, there are allot of differences between this and other related infections. Focus on that rather that "O no, 1 more person is sorta kinda sick"


Fri, Sep 7, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

I would suggest Its not an either or question, that is, west nile verses flu. Its endemic. It's in additon to cold and flu related deaths. Consider that it didn't exist on the continent before 1999 and Washtenaw County before 2001, we really don't have much to data draw on. It is also subject weather factors, and agree or not that menas global climate change. The draught pushed birds and mosquitos in close proximity, looking for sparce water souces. It also favors the species of mosquitos that carry the virus and like human blood.