Health Department Recommends "Fight the Bite" to protect against mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus

Fri June 30, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DUPAGE COUNTY-Summer is here, and warmer temperatures mean more outdoor fun, and more mosquitoes.

As you prepare for the July 4th holiday, the DuPage County Health Department reminds you to "Fight the Bite" and protect yourself and your family from West Nile virus (WNV), an illness spread by mosquitoes.

"We want you to stay active outdoors, but to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes," said Karen Ayala, Health Department Executive Director.

"Mosquitoes in Illinois have tested positive for West Nile virus," Ayala said, "so take some simple steps to prevent bites, and check the Personal Protection Index (PPI) widget on the DuPage County Health Department's website."

The PPI provides residents with a current snapshot of WNV activity, ranging from zero to three, with zero being no activity and three announcing multiple human cases of WNV in DuPage County. Many community partners including townships, municipalities and park districts, also have the PPI widget posted to their homepages.

The PPI is updated every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. throughout the WNV season by the Health Department's vector-borne disease surveillance experts.

The current PPI is Level 1, which means a localized abundance of active mosquitoes, climate conditions favorable for development of virus. The recommended actions are Drain and Defend.

To help prevent mosquitoes from breeding around your home and to protect yourself from bites, follow the "4 Ds of Defense":

· Drain: Drain standing water from items around your home, yard or business.

· Defend: Use an insect repellent containing DEET when outdoors and reapply according to directions.

· Dress: Wear long pants, long sleeves and closed toe shoes when outside to cover the skin.

· Dusk and Dawn: Wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.

The DuPage County Health Department monitors WNV activity by collecting and testing mosquitoes in traps located throughout the county.

For more prevention tips, information on West Nile virus and "Fight the Bite" go to www.dupagehealth.org/ftb

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