SOUTHERN ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The Egyptian Health Department reported it collected West Nile virus positive mosquito batches in Saline, Gallatin and White Counties for summer 2017.
According to the health department, surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois includes lab tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.
People who see a sick or dying bird should contact the health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.
West Nile is transmitted 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. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.
However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.
People older than 50 and immunocompromised are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
The health department offers the following precautions:
- 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, flowerbeds, wading pools, old tires and any other containers.
- Repel - When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellant 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 larvacide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs