“This first human case is a good reminder that we all need to
take precautions,” said Illinois Department of Public Health
Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “The mosquitoes that typically carry
West Nile virus, commonly called the house mosquito, are not as
noticeable as the swarms of floodwater mosquitoes we see with the
heavy rains. Even if it does not look like there are a lot of
mosquitoes outdoors, house mosquitoes are stealthy biters so make
sure to use insect repellent when you’re outside.”
A bird collected in Henry County on May 29, 2014 and a mosquito
sample collected in Madison County on May 30, 2014 were the first
West Nile virus positive results this year. To date, West Nile virus
has been reported in birds, mosquitoes and/or human case in 32
counties. At this time last, year, West Nile virus was reported in
In 2013, a total of 76 counties in Illinois reported West Nile
virus. Last year there were 117 human cases, including 11 deaths.
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 include fever, nausea, headache and muscle
aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However,
four out of five 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 to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and
REDUCE exposure - 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.
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REPEL - when 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 infants.
REPORT - In 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
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the
Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at
numbers are updated every Wednesday afternoon
[Text received; ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT
OF PUBLIC HEALTH]
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