[JUNE 2, 2006]
SPRINGFIELD -- Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public
health director, announced on Thursday that samples from two
collections of mosquitoes in northern Cook County have tested
positive for West Nile virus.
One mosquito sample was collected May 18 in Skokie and was
determined by Illinois Department of Public Health staff to be
positive for the virus. The second sample was collected May 24 by
department staff in unincorporated northern Cook County, near
Norridge -- Thatcher and Berteau.
These samples are the second and third mosquito samples testing
positive for West Nile virus this year. The first positive mosquito
sample was collected in DuPage County on May 22.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began May 1 and
includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays and
robins, and the testing of sick horses and humans with symptoms like
West Nile disease. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue
jay or robin should contact their local health department, which
will determine if the bird is to be picked up for testing.
West Nile virus 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 14 days after the bite of an infected
mosquito. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported
until July or later.
Only about two out of 10 people 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 and meningitis, and death are
possible. People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of
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 these:
outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between
dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are
wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and
apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of
lemon eucalyptus, following the instructions on the label.
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.
sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding,
including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools,
old tires and any other receptacles.
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
Public health officials believe that a hot summer could increase
mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.