Health Dept. testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

Health Dept. testing mosquitoes for West Nile virus

After the first bird with West Nile in Illinois this year turned up in our area, one local health department is trying to find the mosquitoes carrying the virus.

They're on the hunt for deadly insects.

After the first bird with West Nile in Illinois this year turned up in our area, one local health department is trying to find the mosquitoes carrying the virus.

Henry County Health officials put out mosquito nets in Colona near where the infected bird was found

"West Nile is serious because if your immunity is low a person can die," said Henry County Environmental Health Director Dorothy David.

So once a bird in Colona tested positive, Henry County health officials zeroed in their mosquito investigation.

They set up nets near water and in the shade– then they collect the specimen.

"We take all the mosquitoes from those nets, count them. We grind them in our office and we have a re–agent that we can use to test whether they are positive for West Nile Virus or not," said David.

Because the bird could have been infected elsewhere and then traveled, mosquito testing is the only way to prove if there's a real threat.

"Not to be out during dusk and sunrise, and also wear long sleeves shirts, pants when you go outside. Apply some insect repellent," said David.

Health officials say any type of bug spray will work,

But they have not seen research to back up homemade repellents like vanilla or garlic.

Quad Citians say while they'll still enjoy the outdoors this summer,

With no way of knowing where the disease could be lurking, there's one thing they won't leave the house without.

"Just bugspray, that's about all I'm doing there's not much else you can do," said Moline Resident Ann Weber.

"The bugs are pretty bad this year. Got to make sure I've got my grandson pretty well protected. Got to be careful, use a lot of Off spray," said Rock Island resident Lisa Richards.

Officials say they should know the results from this batch of mosquitos within the next week,

And if it's positive they will notify Colona residents and alert the media.

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