ILLINOIS (KFVS) -The first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois is being reported in Dupage County, just West of Chicago.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), staff collected the positive mosquitoes on Tuesday, May 21 in Wayne, Ill.
At this time, no human cases of West Nile virus have been reported.
Health officials believe more reports concerning the virus will be coming in sooner than later due to the recent rains and flooding.
The first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in 2018 were collected on May 25, 2018 in Cook County.
Last year, 74 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus case. IDPH reported 176 human cases, including 17 deaths. IDPH said human cases are underreported.
Symptoms of West Nile include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches which can last from a few days to a few weeks.
According to health officials, people older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
IDPH states severe illness, in rare cases, include meningitis, encephalitis, or even death.
The virus is transmitted through the through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Precautions to fight against West Nile include practicing the three “R’s”: reduce, repel and report.
- Reduce: 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. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
- Repel: when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
- Report: report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.
For more information about West Nile click here.