Online Staff Report
The Boone County Health Department has announced that one batch of mosquitoes, found in the 61085 ZIP code July 10, has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). To date, Boone County has no positive birds or human cases of WNV.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. 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. Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from WNV is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Individuals older than 50 have the highest risk of severe disease.
“It is important for residents to protect themselves from WNV, and any other mosquito-borne illness, by reducing the number of mosquitoes around your home and taking personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said Cindy Frank, administrator of the Boone County Health Department.
The Health Department is operating four mosquito monitoring sites and reviewing data from throughout the county to identify “hot spots” for the mosquito that carries WNV. The department is relying on county residents to identify and report potential mosquito breeding areas in and around undeveloped or abandoned residential building sites and swimming pools.
The Health Department is urging residents to prevent mosquito breeding and to prevent mosquito bites. Recommendations to prevent mosquito breeding include the following:
• Discard old tires, buckets, barrels or any water-holding containers. Poke drain holes in tires used as bumpers at docks.
• Keep roof gutters and downspouts clear of debris.
• Keep trash containers covered.
• Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use.
• Drain unused swimming pools.
• Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.
• Change the water in bird baths and plant urns at least once a week.
• Store boats upside down or drain rainwater weekly.
Boone County Health Department also recommends practicing the three “Rs” — reduce, repel and report.
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.
When weather permits, wear long sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors. Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spraying clothes with repellent containing permethrin or another EPA-registered repellent that will give extra protection. Don’t apply repellents containing permethrin directly to skin. Do not spray repellent on the skin under your clothing. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
Take extra care during peak mosquito-biting hours. Take extra care to use repellent and protective clothing from dusk to dawn or consider avoiding outdoor activities during these times.
The Health Department is monitoring freshly-dead birds, such as crows or blue jays. The birds must not show any signs of decay or trauma. To report a dead bird, call (815) 544-2951. Be prepared to give the location, date and time you found the dead bird. You may also contact the Health Department to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The department is relying on county residents to help identify and report potential mosquito breeding areas in and around underdeveloped or abandoned building sites and swimming pools.
For more about West Nile virus, visit the Boone County Health Department website at www.boonehealth.org.
Posted July 15, 2013