The Grundy County Health Department recently collected mosquitoes in the city of Morris that have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The pool of mosquitoes is the first confirmed detection of the virus in the county this year. Last year, the health department had 12 different mosquito pools test positive for West Nile virus through the course of the summer.
This year’s positive was found six weeks earlier in the year than last year’s first positive mosquito pool.
The Grundy County Health Department wants to encourage everyone to follow the Illinois Department of Public Health’ three R’s to avoid contracting any of the illnesses that are transmitted by mosquitoes. The three R’s are Reduce, Repel and Report.
It starts with Reduce exposure by avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. You can also make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
Finally, eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles, and change water in bird baths weekly.
Repel the mosquitoes when outdoors by wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. The IDPH also recommends that you apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.
They encourage that you consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
Finally, the IDPH suggests that you Report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes to whomever handles mosquito control activities in your area.
According to the IDPH’s website, “mild cases of West Nile infections may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.”
These symptoms will typically appear between and three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
The State Health Departments website also states, “Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.”
For further information regarding West Nile virus, contact the Grundy County Health Department at (815) 941-3115. You may also obtain information from the IDPH web-site located at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.