JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - The Jackson County Health Department reports routine mosquito testing identified some who tested positive for West Nile in the county in 2017.
According to the health department, the mosquitoes were collected on July 12 near Murphysboro.
"We are now in the very hot time of year when West Nile virus activity begins to amplify," said Bart Hagston, environmental health director for Jackson Co. Health Dept. "Residents across Jackson Count and beyond should take action to protect themselves from mosquito bites."
According to the health department, West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Four out of five people who are bitten by an infected mosquito will not experience any illness. Those who do get sick commonly experience fever, nausea, headache and body aches within three to 14 days of the bite. However, serious illness such as encephalitis and meningitis, with lingering complications and even deaths, are possible.
In 2016, the health department reports there were 152 human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois, including five deaths. No human cases have been reported yet in 2017 in Illinois, but neighboring states have reported viral activity.
The department of health recommends practicing the three "R's":
- REDUCE exposure - 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 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, 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. Jackson County residents are especially encouraged to call the health department to report sick or deceased crows, blue jays, robins or other perching birds. Officials will determine if the bird should be submitted to a lab for West Nile virus testing
You can click here for more information about West Nile virus on the Jackson County Health Department's website.