With another positive testing for West Nile Virus in an animal, the Livingston County Health Department is reminding residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

Earlier this month the Michigan Department of Natural Resources identified a great horned owl living in the county that carried the disease. This is the 24th bird found in the state that has tested positive for West Nile Virus this year. The Health Department wants residents to know that the most effective way of avoiding the disease is to prevent mosquito bites at home and while traveling. They suggest using insect repellents that offer long lasting protection and contain DEET, but not to use sprays on children that are more than 30% DEET. If the weather allows for it, wear long sleeves, pants, and socks outdoors. Mosquitos can bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent containing permethrin can give extra protection. Permethrin should be used on clothes only and never directly on skin.

All repellants should be used according to the label instructions. Take extra care at dawn and dusk, which serve as peak mosquito-biting times. Emptying standing water from devices that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitos like gutters, pool covers, flowerpots, buckets, discarded tires, and birdbaths can help as well. Install or repair screens on windows and doors to keep the mosquitos outside. More information can be found through the link below or by calling the Livingston County Health Department at (517) 546-9850.