JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Routine mosquito testing has identified the first two batches of mosquitoes positive for West Nile virus in Jackson County in 2014.
According to the Jackson County Health Department, these mosquitoes were collected on July 18 in an area south of Carbondale, Illinois. In addition, a dead crow collected on July 11 in that same area was found to have West Nile virus.
The incidence of West Nile virus was moderate in Illinois in 2013, with 117 human cases and 11 deaths. Two of the human cases were in Jackson County.
So far in 2014, 18 Illinois counties have reported West Nile Virus positive birds or mosquitoes, with no human cases reported.
However, Bart Hagston, environmental health director for Jackson County Health Department , cautions, "We are now starting the very hot time of year when West Nile virus activity begins to amplify. Residents across Jackson County and beyond should take action to protect themselves from mosquito bites."
The health department recommends practicing the three "R's" - reduce, repel and report.
Reduce - Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Keep doors and windows closed. Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including wading pools, old tires and other receptacles. Change bird bath water weekly.
Repel - When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Apply EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin or IR3535 according to label instructions.
Report - In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. Call your local health department to report sick or dying cows, blue jays, robins or other perching birds. Officials will determine if the bird should be submitted to a lab for West Nile virus testing.
For more information, you can click here to visit the health department online.