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Health dept. encourages you to 'fight the bite'

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[May 21, 2012]  Mosquitoes, West Nile virus and other mosquito-related diseases are likely off to an early start due to the warm spring.

West Nile encephalitis is an infection of the brain caused by the West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes also carry viruses that can transmit other forms of encephalitis, such as La Crosse and St. Louis.

During warm-weather months, it pays to be cautious. By following these steps, you can help prevent the spread of mosquitoes and the risk of being bitten or infected.

  • Avoid the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

  • When outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long-sleeved pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors, so light-colored clothing is preferred.

  • Apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, and be sure to follow the label instructions. Contact a physician before using repellents on infants, and always follow the label instructions.

  • Eliminate ways for mosquitoes to gain entry into your home. Be sure screens that protect doors and windows are tight-fitting, free of tears and are in good repair.

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, such as flowerpots, clogged gutters, old tires, unused wading pools and other receptacles. Birdbath water should be replaced weekly.

  • To report public tire dump sites, abandoned pools, areas of standing water in roadside ditches, flooded yards or similar conditions that may produce mosquitoes, you can contact your local municipality or the Logan County Department of Public Health.

If you are bitten by a mosquito, there is no reason to be tested for West Nile virus, since illnesses related to mosquito bites are rare. However, if you develop symptoms such as high fever, confusion, muscle weakness or severe headaches, you should see your doctor.

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Starting today (Monday), the Logan County Department of Public Health will collect dead birds for laboratory testing to track West Nile virus activity. If you see a bird that has been dead less than 24 hours or appears to have died of natural causes, contact the health department to see if the bird qualifies for free testing.

In addition to collecting birds, during much of the summer the health department will trap and test mosquito pools for West Nile virus activity. This is made possible through additional grant funds from Illinois Department of Public Health.

If you have questions regarding prevention of mosquito-related diseases and would like more information, you can contact the Logan County Department of Public Health at 217-735-2317.


Information source: Illinois Department of Public Health

[Text from file received from the Logan County Department of Public Health]

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