Two mosquito batches in Winnebago County positive for West Nile virus
Online Staff Report
Winnebago County Health Department (WCHD) announced Aug. 13 that two mosquito batches found in the 61073 and 61108 ZIP code areas have tested positive with West Nile virus (WNV).
As of Aug. 13, WCHD reports two positive mosquito batches, three positive birds and no human cases for this year.
The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting WNV activity in 33 counties, including 1,691 positive mosquito batches, 35 positive birds and six human cases in 2012.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. WNV is an infection that can cause serious illness, but most people infected with WNV have no signs or symptoms of illness.
Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Those with mild symptoms may have a fever, headache, body aches, skin rash or swollen lymph glands, but those with serious symptoms such as encephalitis and meningitis should seek medical assistance. People at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.
The best way to prevent WNV or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include practicing the three “Rs” — reduce, repel and report.
REDUCE exposure — avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. 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, especially at night. Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
REPEL — When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply 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.
REPORT — “Every WNV season, the Winnebago County Health Department offers a phone line for residents to report the location of recently expired birds,” said WNV Program Manager Todd Marshall. “The report line number to call is (815) 720-4245. After calling in a report of a dead bird, please leave it where it lays for 24 hours. If we don’t pick it up for testing, you can dispose of the bird yourself. When calling the hotline to report dead birds, please leave the address, the location of the bird on the property, the town and ZIP code, and number of dead birds found.”
Dead birds cannot spread WNV, but it is advised to avoid barehanded contact with dead birds and other animals since they carry a variety of germs. Use a shovel, gloves or double-plastic bags to place the carcass in a garbage bag or can.
The Health Department has also opened a WNV information line for residents who have questions or wish to speak to a health professional. That number is (815) 720-4240.
For more about WNV, visit the following websites:
Illinois Department of Public Health at www.idph.state.il.us;
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm; and
Winnebago County Health Department at www.wchd.org.
Posted Aug. 13, 2012
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