MORRIS – The Grundy County Health Department recently collected mosquitoes in the City of Morris that have tested positive for West Nile Virus. This pool of mosquitoes is the first confirmed detection of the virus in the county this year.
The Grundy County Health Department anticipates increased frequency of positive mosquito pools being detected, which raises the risk of disease transmission to the public. Therefore, Grundy County Health Department wants to encourage everyone to take steps to avoid becoming a victim of West Nile Virus or other mosquito-borne viruses. To minimize the risks, the Illinois Department of Public Health recommends the practices of "Reduce, Repel and Report."
Reduce pertains to limiting exposure by avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. 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 flower pots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles, as well as change water in bird baths weekly.
Repel mosquitoes when outdoors by wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. IDPH recommends insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR 3535. It encourages the consulting of a physician before using repellents on infants.
Finally, report refers to the need to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that could produce mosquitoes.
According to the IDPH’s web site, “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. IDPH’s web site 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 www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.