Tue June 7, 2011
DUPAGE COUNTY- The DuPage County Health Department will again help residents keep track of West Nile virus activity with a tracking map on the Health Department's website showing where there have been positive tests for West Nile virus.
To date, there have been no human cases of West Nile virus reported. However, human cases are generally not reported until July or later. In 2010, there were 17 human cases of West Nile disease reported in DuPage County.
To see WNV activity in or near your community, please visit www.dupagehealth.org/wnv-map. This map of mosquito traps throughout the county will be updated if mosquitoes test positive for WNV.
The Health Department is also again collecting freshly-dead birds (such as crows or blue jays) for WNV testing. The birds must not show any signs of decay or trauma and we must be able to pick them up in time to be shipped to the state laboratory by the close of business on Thursdays. To report a dead bird, call (630) 682-7400.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Individuals over the age of 50 have the highest risk of severe disease.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to take the following precautions: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
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, especially at night.
Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
The Health Department does not spray for mosquitoes; mosquito prevention is done by municipalities or mosquito abatement districts. The Health Department monitors West Nile virus activity and works with communities to inform residents about West Nile virus prevention.
Public health officials believe that a hot summer could increase mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus. Last year, 30 of the state's 102 counties reported a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case.
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