"We are seeing high temperatures and dry weather, which are the
perfect conditions for creating mosquito breeding grounds," said
Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck. "The
mosquitoes that typically carry West Nile virus breed in stagnant
water -- water left sitting in storm drains or in containers around
the outside of your home. So dump out those containers and take
other precautions against mosquito bites, like wearing insect
To date, West Nile virus-positive birds, mosquitoes or
human cases have been reported in 52 counties. The first human case
this year was reported on Aug. 21 in a McHenry County woman in her
50s. Last year the first human case was reported July 24.
For the 2012 season, IDPH reported the second-highest number of
West Nile virus human cases in state history, with 290 residents and
12 deaths. So far this year, two human cases have been reported and
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito
that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common
West Nile virus symptoms are fever, nausea, headache and muscle
aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, 4
out of 5 people infected with West Nile virus will not show any
symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness, including meningitis or
encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at
higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
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 take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Precautions include practicing the three "R's" -- reduce, repel and
exposure -- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most
active, especially between dusk and dawn.
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 where mosquitoes can breed,
including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading
pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
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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
communities where there are organized mosquito control programs,
contact your municipal government to report dead birds and areas
of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar
locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Additional information about West Nile virus is available on the
Illinois Department of Public Health's website at
www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. Surveillance numbers are
updated every Wednesday afternoon:
Illinois Department of Public
Health file received from the
Illinois Office of Communication and Information]