State of Illinois has reported 68 human cases of West Nile virus illness to date
Using insect repellent, draining standing water can help combat spread of mosquito-borne encephalitis
Winnebago County Health Department has confirmed a second case of West Nile illness in Winnebago County. The new case is an 86-year-old male who is presently hospitalized and in fair condition. This man began having symptoms in late September. The first case reported in Winnebago County on Oct. 3, 2007, is a 47-year-old male who was hospitalized for one day and is home fully recuperating.
Winnebago County is one of several counties in Illinois reporting human cases of West Nile disease. Illinois is reporting 68 human cases of West Nile virus illness to date. As of Oct. 3, Winnebago County Health Department reported four crows found in Rockford, in the 61101, 61108, 61109 and 61073 Zip Code areas, and a mosquito pool in 61101 Zip Code that have confirmed positive for West Nile virus.
It is important to remember that this is the time of year when there is the greatest risk of contracting a West Nile virus (WNV) infection, reminds Mike Bacon, WCHD Public Health director. West Nile virus is transmitted by the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding off an infected bird. It is estimated that about 20 percent of the people who become infected with WNV will develop West Nile fever, reminds Bacon.
The best protection against mosquito-borne illness is to limit outdoor activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes that could carry the West Nile virus are most active. Protective clothing will ideally include lightweight, loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks. Its best to always apply a repellent containing DEET (25 percent for adults, 10 percent for children, and not recommended for infants) when going outdoors. Last year, CDC has added two new products containing picaridin and lemon of eucalyptus. Both ingredients have also proven effective as mosquito repellents.
Personal/home precautions to prevent mosquito-borne encephalitis
Alert health authorities to potential mosquito breeding sites in your area.
Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning and at dusk. Whenever outdoors between dusk and dawn, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is best.
Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 25 to 35 percent of the active ingredient DEET or picaridin or lemon of eucalyptus. Spray the repellent not only on exposed skin but also on clothing. Consult a physician before using repellents on very young children.
Drain standing water in your yard at least once a week. Pour water from mosquito breeding sites, such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, boats, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, or similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs. For permanent standing pools of water, mosquito larvicide can be used. The larvicide can be purchased from many retail stores selling garden supplies. Follow the manufacturers recommendations for use.
Check screens on porches and patios for tears and other openings.
For more information about West Nile virus, visit the following Web sites: Illinois Department of Public Health at www.idph.state.il.us; Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm; or Winnebago County Health Department at www.wchd.org.
from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue