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House Committee Testimony: Oakland County has Lowest Rate of Reported West Nile Cases

Prevention efforts, such as larvicide, keep Oakland County’s rate of reported WNV illnesses low.

Oakland County has the lowest rate of reported West Nile Virus (WNV) cases for 2012 of five large urban areas in Michigan which include Kent, Macomb and Wayne counties, and the City of Detroit. Health and Human Services Director George Miller and Kathy Forzley, Health Division Manager/Health Officer, told the Michigan House Health Policy Committee today that Oakland County’s rate of reported WNV illnesses is 1.8 per 100,000 people with no deaths as of Friday.

Miller and Forzley credited an aggressive public education and prevention campaign under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson for the low numbers.

“Personal protection remains the best protection against mosquito-borne disease,” Miller said.

Some examples of the campaign with tips on how to avoid WNV included:

  • Weekly WNV updates at oakgov.com/health
  • Updates of Health Division WNV educational material
  • Weekly WNV prevention press releases to the media, physicians and hospitals, 33,000 recipients on the GovDelivery network, and Facebook
  • WNV prevention podcast  

“Our Health Division has an outstanding record for disease prevention,” Patterson said. “They combine know-how with leading-edge technology to communicate with as broad an audience as possible all while saving taxpayers money.”

Other WNV prevention steps were taken such as working with a community partner to provide insect repellent at Arts, Beats & Eats; annual training for cities, villages, and townships within the county; and distribution of reimbursement funds for local programs that include prevention efforts such as larvicide. 

The number of WNV cases reported per 100,000 people in other urban areas this year are: Macomb, 2.8; Detroit, 4.0; Wayne, 4.4; and Kent, 6.7. The Michigan House Health Policy Committee is chaired by Rep. Gail Haines of Waterford. For more information on WNV prevention or the Health Division, go to oakgov.com/health

Source: Oakland County Executive

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