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Health officials said it's important for residents to prevent mosquito bites now that the warmer weather is here. People age 60 or older have a higher risk of getting seriously ill from West Nile virus.
"Use insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites when outdoors," Dr. Eden Wells, MDHHS chief medical executive, said. "It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to cause a severe illness, so take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours, which are dusk and dawn."
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Health officials said most people who contract the virus have no clinical symptoms but could get sick three to 15 days after the bite.
The virus develops more quickly as summer temperatures rise.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include high fever, confusion, muscle weakness and severe headaches. More serious complications could include neurological illnesses, such as meningitis and encephalitis.