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

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[June 25, 2020]  As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to loom, another public health threat is quickly approaching that cannot be overlooked.

This is the time of year, as the weather warms, when mosquitoes become more active. This increased activity means that people will be at risk for becoming infected with the 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. 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.

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• 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.

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.

Beginning June 8th, 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, please contact the health department to see if it qualifies for free testing. In addition to collecting birds, the health department will be trapping and testing mosquito pools for WNV activity during much of the summer.

These LCDPH services are made possible through a grant from Illinois Department of Public Health. If you have questions regarding prevention of mosquito-related diseases or would like more information, you can visit the LCDPH website at WWW.LCDPH.ORG or you can contact the department at 217-735-2317.

[Don Cavi, MS, LEHP
Public Health Administrator
Logan County Department of Public Health]


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