​Mosquito Bites Can Make You Sick

Almost everyone in the world has been bitten by a mosquito. Although most types of mosquitoes are just nuisance mosquitoes, some types of mosquitoes spread germs (viruses and parasites) that can cause disease. For most of these germs, no vaccines or specific medicines are available.

Mosquitoes bite during the day and night, live indoors and outdoors, and search for warm places as temperatures begin to drop. Some mosquitoes hibernate in enclosed spaces, like garages, sheds, and under (or inside) homes, to survive cold temperatures. Typically, mosquito season starts in the summer and continues into fall.

Disease epidemics from viruses spread by mosquitoes are happening more often. West Nile virus is the most common virus spread by mosquitoes in the continental United States. However, people in the United States can also get sick from less common viruses spread by mosquitoes, like eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) or St. Louis encephalitis.

Prevent Mosquito Bites

The best way to prevent illnesses from mosquito bites is to protect yourself and your family from bites.

Use insect repellent

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.

Look for these ingredients on product labels: DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and permethrin.

Always follow repellent label instructions.

Cover up

Wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outside.

Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with a repellent will provide extra protection.

Keep mosquitoes outside

Use air conditioning or window and door screens.

If you are not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes inside your home or hotel, sleep under a mosquito net.

Clean mosquito breeding sites

Drain standing water from items in your yard. A small amount of standing water can be enough for mosquitoes to lay eggs. Be sure to empty water from buckets, cans, pool covers, flowerpots, and other items.

Clean up potential mosquito breeding places around your yard. Throw away or cover up stored tires or items that aren’t being used. Clean pet bowls weekly. Check if rain gutters are clogged.

Plan ahead for travel

Learn about destination-specific health risks and recommendations by visiting CDC Travelers’ Health website.

Remember to pack insect repellent to prevent mosquito bites.

EPA-registered Insect Repellents

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for those who are pregnant and breastfeeding.

LCHD Mosquito Efforts

From late spring to early fall, the LCHD Environmental Health Division collects and analyzes various species of mosquitoes.  We are primarily looking for species of mosquitoes that can carry Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE).  Although our focus is EEE, mosquitoes that are sent to the State lab are tested for EEE as well as other mosquito-borne diseases including West Nile Virus and Jamestown Canyon Virus. The purpose of the mosquito surveillance is to identify species of mosquitoes carrying these viruses, quantify mosquito numbers, determine the proportion of which species are infected, and make an assessment of potential human risk. These viruses have been responsible for illnesses requiring hospitalization of over a hundred people in Michigan, with several deaths. Some of these viruses have also caused equine illness with over 200 horse deaths confirmed in Michigan.

If someone becomes sick from a mosquito bite, the LCHD Personal and Preventive Health Division follows-up to ensure proper treatment. We also collect information to identify where the person was exposed to infected mosquitoes. This helps us understand which mosquito-borne illnesses may exist in our community.

The LCHD Health Promotion Team works to educate the community about the risks of mosquito-borne illness. –  It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to make you sick! – We attend community events and create educational materials to reinforce the importance of preventing mosquito bites and cleaning up mosquito breeding areas around your home.

Last Modified July 12, 2024

Livingston County Health Department Logo
Matt Bolang

Matt Bolang
Health Officer

Phone

(517) 546-9850

Hours

Monday – Friday
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Closed County Holidays

Location

2300 E Grand River Ave
Suite 102
Howell, MI 48843

Fax

(517) 546-6995