First mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus in Illinois

Local News
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Samples of mosquitoes collected from two locations in Cook County have tested positive for West Nile Virus, Illinois Health Department announced on Wednesday.

The two batches were collected from River Forest (on May 31st) and Evanston (on June 5th). No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year, the department said.

Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

The Illinois Department of Health

In 2019, 46 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. The health department reported 28 human cases (although human cases are underreported), including one death.

IDPH recommends to follow the three R’s as precautions:

  1. REDUCE – make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows shut.
    Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
  2. REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt, and apply an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  3.  REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.  The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.

According to CDC, West Nile virus (WNV) is the leading cause of mosquito-borne disease in the continental United States. About one out of 150 infected people develop a serious, sometimes fatal, illness.

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