Zika virus total up to 26 in Illinois

By Ryne Turke on August 1, 2016 at 6:34am

In an effort to battle mosquito-borne illnesses, the Morgan County Health Department is reminding community members about the three R’s: reduce, repel and report.

According to the Illinois Health Department, 26 Zika virus cases have been reported in the state. MCHD Director Dale Bainter says the virus is normally found outside of Illinois, so most cases involve travelers passing through the state.

“This time of year it is so hot during the day that we spend a lot of time out during the early evening, and so do mosquitoes. If you are out, you want to try and wear long pants and shirts that protect your skin. You want to use an inspect repellent with deet. If you have a garbage can or anything that holds water for an extended period of time, that is where those mosquitoes are going to grow,” says Bainter.

Bainter says Morgan County is yet to receive any cases of West Nile Virus this year. In previous years, cases involving contaminated birds, mosquito-pools and human cases had all been confirmed.

Bainter says the culex mosquito, which prefers dry and hot weather, is the most common carrier of the virus.

“We think of a lot of precipitation and mosquitoes. Those are flood water mosquitoes. The culex mosquito, which carries West Nile Virus, prefers dry and hot weather. When you get rains like we have had recently and the weather turns really hot, that gives us the proper conditions for breeding that type of mosquito,” says Bainter.

Common West Nile symptoms include headaches, fever and tiredness. Extreme cases include swelling of the brain and death.