The Logan County Department of Public Health urges you to “fight the bite”

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[May 31, 2014] LINCOLN - With the onset of warmer weather, mosquitoes are now becoming more active. This increased activity means that people are at risk for becoming infected with West Nile Virus (WNV). West Nile encephalitis is an infection of the brain caused by the WNV which is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Last year in Illinois, 117 people fell ill to WNV and 11 deaths were reported (including one in Logan County).

In addition to WNV, mosquitoes also carry the virus capable of transmitting other forms of encephalitis such as Lacrosse and St. Louis. To reduce the risks of becoming infected by mosquitoes, it pays to “fight the bite” by taking the following precautions:

  • Avoid the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • When outdoors, wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
  • Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors so light-colored clothing is preferred.
  • Apply insect repellent which includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. 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 flower pots, clogged gutters, old tires, unused wading pools and other receptacles. Bird bath 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 which may produce mosquitoes, you can contact your local municipality or the Logan County Department of Public Health.

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If you are bitten by a mosquito, there is no reason to be tested for WNV 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.

Starting Monday, June 2nd, the Logan County Department of Public Health will begin collecting dead birds for state-funded 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, please contact the health department to see if it qualifies for testing.

In addition to collecting birds, the health department will be trapping and testing mosquitoes throughout Logan County to detect WNV activity during much of the summer. This is made possible through grant funds from the 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.


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