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Mosquitoes in Sandwich test positive for West Nile virus; health officials offer tips to lower risk – Shaw Local

SANDWICH – Mosquitoes collected in traps in Sandwich have tested positive for West Nile virus, the DeKalb County Health Department announced Friday.

According to a news release from the health department, Friday’s announcement is the first pool of mosquitoes that have tested positive for the virus in DeKalb County so far in 2022.

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in DeKalb County this year, according to the health department.

Increased cases of West Nile virus in mosquitoes can be associated with an increased risk for people, health officials said.

The virus also has been reported in mosquitoes in several other Illinois counties.

On Aug. 30, state health officials reported the first human case and death in 2022 due to West Nile virus was a person in their late 70s in Cook County. The first West Nile virus recorded this year in a mosquito batch was reported May 17 in Will County, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The first bird to test positive for the virus this year was in Logan County on July 5.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes can become infected after feeding on an infected bird.

“It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus – most do not,” county health officials wrote in the release.

symptoms

According to the health department, most people with the virus exhibit no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill within three to 14 days after an infected mosquito bites them.

West Nile virus often is a mild illness that can include a fever, headache and body aches, health officials said. Serious illness also can occur, however, such as encephalitis and meningitis, which include brain swelling and can be caused by bacterial infections.

Those 50 years old or older are at a higher risk of developing a more severe case of the virus.

“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes,” said Greg Maurice, director of health protection at the DeKalb County Health Department. “This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and using mosquito repellent when outside.”

Tips to mitigate West Nile virus risk

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • 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. Turn over buckets, garbage cans, or other containers that collect water.

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