DeKALB — For the first time this year, mosquitoes collected in a trap in Sandwich have tested positive for the West Nile Virus, according to a DeKalb Health Department news release.
Nearly 42 counties in Illinois have reported mosquito samples containing the West Nile Virus. 33 human cases and one death have been recorded in the state this year. No human cases of the West Nile Virus have been reported in DeKalb County this year.
The West Nile Virus is transmitted by infected Culex mosquitoes. The mosquitoes become carriers after feeding on birds infected with the virus. A majority of mosquitoes are not carriers of the West Nile Virus.
Culex are most active during the hours between dusk and dawn and thrive in warmer climates. However, the mosquitoes remain active in cooler weather until hard frost, so vigilance from the population is recommended.
“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes,” said Greg Maurice, director of Health Protection, in a news release.
To reduce the chances of being infected with the West Nile Virus, Maurice recommends the following courses of action:
Avoid being outdoors during the most active hours for Culex mosquitoes.
Wear clothing that covers that skin and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
Ensure doors and windows have tight-fighting screens. Any screens with holes or openings should be repaired or replaced. Keep doors and windows shut during nighttime hours, if possible.
Change the water in any bird baths on a weekly basis and properly maintain any wading pools and ornamental ponds. Turn over any types of containers that may collect water.
For more information, visit the DeKalb County Health Department website. To learn about other programs and services offered by the Health Department, you can also click here.