West Nile found in Jackson County mosquitoes - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

West Nile found in Jackson County mosquitoes

JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

The Jackson County Health Department reports mosquitoes in Murphysboro tested positive for West Nile virus.

The virus was detected in the bugs collected on July 24 for routine testing. It's the first batch of mosquitoes to test positive.

The Jackson County Environmental Health Director says right now is when people need to be cautious.

The health department said because West Nile virus activity in Culex mosquitoes increases during hot weather, personal protection against mosquitoes is particularly important during this time of the year.

"We are now starting the very hot time of year when West Nile virus activity begins to amplify," Bart Hagston said. "Residents across Jackson County and beyond should take action to protect themselves from mosquito bites."

Ways to reduce risk:

  • Reduce exposure: avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including wading pools, old tires, and other receptacles. 
  • Repel: when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Apply EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of Lemon Eucalyptus, 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. Hagston especially encourages Jackson County residents to call the health

The health department requests anyone who sees a sick or dead bird to report it to them. That's because the virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus after feeding on an infected bird. 

The health department reports four out of five people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will not experience any illness, but those who do get sick commonly experience fever, nausea, headache and body aches within 3 to 14 days of the bite. 

However, serious illness such as encephalitis and meningitis, with lingering complications and even death, are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age and those with compromised immune systems have the highest risk of severe illness.

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