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Kent County Health Department traps mosquito carrying rare Jamestown Canyon Virus

The female Anopheles mosquito is a spreader of malaria.
Smith Collection/Gado
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The female Anopheles mosquito is a spreader of malaria.

The Kent County Health Department says it's turned up a mosquito in one of its traps carrying the rare Jamestown Canyon Virus.

Over the past decade, the Kent County Health Department has been recording an uptick in mosquito borne viruses. Epidemiologists say increasing temperatures, milder winters and increased rainfall are causing mosquito populations to flourish.

Surveillance and testing of traps in Grand Rapids 49504 zip code detected the first mosquito carrying the Jamestown Canyon Virus. It’s not the first case in Michigan. It’s been detected throughout much of the Midwest.

“Jamestown Canyon Virus is not something that is incredibly alarming," Kent County Public Health Epidemiologist Paul Bellamy said.

Bellamy explained that the disease is rare, describing infection symptoms.

“Fever, headaches, general fatigue. These are associated with this pathogen. And in sever cases, you can get infections in the brain causing encephalitis or meningitis, but this virus in a majority of cases does not cause severe illness.”

Prevention includes applying mosquito repellant containing 10 to 35% DEET. Wearing light colored clothing and long-sleeved shirts and pants, staying indoors during dusk and removing or refreshing water in bird baths, kiddie pools and any other yard receptacles collecting water.