Macoupin County Health Officials are reminding area residents what to watch out for, following their confirmation of a positive pool of West Nile Virus.
Health Department Officials Confirmed a pool of mosqitoes found near Girard tested positive for the West Nile Virus Friday. They say the health department will continue surveillance and testing mosquito pools from across the county as well as conduct mosquito abatement methods in an effort to control mosquito populations.
According to a release from the Macoupin County Health Department, monitoring for West Nile Virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches and dead birds, as well as testing humans with symptoms consistent with West Nile.
People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird should contact the health department, who will determine if the bird will need to be picked up for testing. West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people who become infected with WNV will not display any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, may occur. People who are older than 50 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
The Macoupin County Health Department says the best way to prevent West Nile is by practicing the three R’s of Reduce, Repel, and Report.
They say reduce the chances of mosquitoes entering your home or place of business by making sure doors and windows have adequate screens with no holes or tears in them, and remove or refresh any sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed such as birdbaths and wading pools.
Use repellent that contains DEET when outdoors, and report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than one week such as roadside ditches or flooded yards.
More information can be found on the Macoupin County Heath Department’s website at mcphd.net/environmental-services, or by calling the Illinois Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus Hotline at 886-369-9710 Monday through Friday between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm.