You may have heard that cases of human infection of the West Nile virus have been reported in Illinois and specifically 12 cases have been reported in DuPage County! Tragically, Illinois also reported the first human death from the virus in nearby Lombard.
It is important to understand what the West Nile virus is, how to prevent getting it, and what symptoms to be aware of.
West Nile virus, WNV, is caused by a bite from an infected mosquito that's already carrying the virus, but it's important to remember that not all mosquitoes are infected. According to the Center for Disease Control, CDC, the easiest and best way to avoid WNV is to prevent mosquito bites.
• When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
• Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
• Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
• Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly.
Families should also be familiar with the possible symptoms of West Nile virus. Click here to view the symptoms as provided by the CDC.
To learn more about West Nile virus, visit the DuPage County Health Department website or the CDC’s website.