Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus In County

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Routine mosquito testing identified West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes in Montgomery County. Mosquitoes collected from Taylor Springs on Friday, Aug. 23, tested positive for the virus.

These results demonstrate the continued need for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites and eliminate mosquito breeding areas.

This is peak time for West Nile virus activity, and will continue until the first frost. Culex mosquitoes, the primary carrier for West Nile, are active in the evening and early morning, and rest in vegetation through the day. Individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking the following precautions.

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.

Use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to the label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

Culex mosquitoes prefer to lay eggs in small stagnant pools of water. 

Regularly check yards for buckets, rain collection barrels, bird baths, ornamental ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, toys and other small receptacles which have the potential to hold water.  

Eliminate these sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding. 

In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact the municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Only about two persons out of every ten who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. 

Illness from West Nile disease normally occurs three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito, and is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. However, serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, with lingering complications and even death, are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

Montgomery County Health Department has been conducting a West Nile virus surveillance program since May that includes trapping adult mosquitoes and testing them for the West Nile virus. The health department also submits birds that have recently died from unknown causes to test for West Nile virus. Persons who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird, should contact the health department at 217-532-2001, and officials will determine if the bird is suitable for testing.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.

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