The Illinois Department of Public Health recently announced that the first official 2018 human case of West Nile Virus in the state was confirmed last week in Cook County.
According to the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in about 75% of infections people have few or no symptoms. About 20% of people develop minor symptoms such as a fever, headache, muscle ache, swollen glands, nausea, vomiting, or a rash.
Less than one percent will show severe symptoms, which may include high fever, severe headache and inflammation of the brain, stiff neck, muscle weakness, confusion, tremors, and paralysis. Eight people died last year in Illinois from confirmed West Nile cases. Cameron Morford is the Sanitarian and Public Health Emergency Preparedness coordinator of the Morgan County Health Department. Morford wants to remind people that, in light of this confirmed case, remembering the 3 R’s is helpful in managing the presence of mosquitoes.
“Reduce: make sure your house and screen doors and stuff like that is properly sealed and in good repair. Make sure that Tires, flower pots, and anything that can hold water in your backyard dry. You don’t want any standing water.
“Repel: long-sleeve shirts, long pants, and repellent when you’re going outside, outdoors.
“Report: if you do see any old pools or tires, make sure that you give us a call and we’ll take care of it. Also, if you see a suspiciously looking dead bird, like it hasn’t been hit by a car or anything like that, be sure to call us and report that because a lot of times that will be a West Nile positive bird.”
Morford says that, so far this year, he has processed over 500 mosquitoes for testing.
“I’ve been running my traps since the beginning of this month, and I’ve tested about 14 traps of 20-50 mosquitoes each, and I haven’t had any result in a positive West Nile sample, but it’s still early.”
Morford also recalls the previous tests in his time with the County Health Department.
“I’ve worked here for 3 summers now. I’ve tested roughly 200 traps full of mosquitoes with zero confirmed West Nile samples.”
If you have any further questions in regards to prevention of mosquitoes and West Nile Virus, these are a few different pages you can peruse for an in-depth review.