First Mosquitoes in Illinois Test Positive for West Nile Virus

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                       SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public

                      health director, today announced a mosquito sample

                      collected in Tazewell County has been confirmed as

                      the first positive West Nile virus test results in

                      Illinois this year.

                      The Tazewell County Health Department collected the

                      positive mosquito batch in Delavan on June 10.

                      “During June and July mosquitoes that typically carry

                      West Nile virus are breeding, particularly during hot

                      weather,” said Dr. Arnold.  “To help reduce the

                      number of mosquitoes, make sure to get rid of any

                      stagnant water around your home and protect yourself

                      by wearing insect repellent.”

                      In 2010, the first positive mosquito samples were

                      collected on June 3 in Gallatin County.  Last year,

                      30 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a

                      West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human

                      case.  A total of 61 human cases of West Nile disease

                      were reported in Illinois last year, the first

                      reported on August 31.  In hotter summers, such as

                      2005 and 2006, more human cases have been reported:

                      • 2009- 5

                      • 2008 – 20

                      • 2007 – 101

                      • 2006 – 215

                      • 2005 – 252

                      • 2004 – 60

                      • 2003 - 54

                      • 2002- 884

                      Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began on

                      May 1 and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes,

                      dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching

                      birds as well as the testing of sick horses and

                      humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms.

                      Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay,

                      robin or other perching bird should contact their

                      local health department, which will determine if the

                      bird will be picked up for testing.

                      West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a

                      mosquito that has been infected with 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 West Nile is usually mild and includes

                      fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness

                      such as encephalitis, meningitis and death are

                      possible.

                      Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest

                      risk of severe disease.

                      The best way to prevent West Nile disease 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:

                      • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most

                      active, especially between dusk and dawn.

                      • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and

                      a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that

                      includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or

                      IR 3535 according to label instructions.  Consult a

                      physician before using repellents on infants.

                      • 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 that can

                      support mosquito breeding, including water in bird

                      baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and

                      any other receptacles.  In communities where there

                      are organized mosquito control programs, contact your

                      municipal government to report areas of stagnant

                      water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar

                      locations that may produce mosquitoes.

                      Public health officials believe that a hot summer

                      could increase mosquito activity and the risk of

                      disease from West Nile virus.

                      Additional information about West Nile virus can be

                      found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s

                      Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.