ELBURN – A batch of mosquitos from a trap near Elburn tested positive for West Nile virus, the first of the year, the Kane County Health Department announced in a news release June 14.
West Nile virus transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird, the release stated.
Although people usually notice mosquitoes during rainy conditions, those are commonly called floodwater or nuisance mosquitoes and typically do not carry West Nile virus.
In hot, dry weather, mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus breed in stagnant water, like street catch basins and ditches, and multiply rapidly.
Residents are urged to inspect their homes and yard for sources of standing water where these mosquitoes are likely to breed, the release stated.
Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days later.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Symptoms are usually mild and include fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible.
Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease, the release stated.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness such as Zika virus, is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• 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.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen.
• Those in communities with organized mosquito control programs should contact their municipal governments to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes, the release stated.
People also can call the state’s West Nile Virus Hotline 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 866-369-9710.