Conservation and Trapping Science

Mosquitoes Test Positive For West Nile Virus In Lake Co.
Jun 19, 2020 09:18 ET

[Reprinted from original]

LAKE COUNTY, IL — A batch of mosquitoes sampled in Hawthorn Woods on June 4 have tested positive for the West Nile virus, Lake County Health Department officials said Thursday. The batch is the first mosquito pool to test positive for West Nile Virus so far this year in Lake County.

"As we approach the summer season, our time outdoors increases, and so does our exposure to mosquitoes," said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. "Please remember to 'Fight the Bite' and protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes that may carry West Nile virus."

Residents are reminded to practice the "4 Ds of Defense' to protect themselves from mosquitoes

Drain: Drain standing water from items around your home, yard, and business.
Defend: When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, or IR3535 and reapply according to label directions.
Dawn and Dusk: Protect yourself all day and night, and wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.
Dress: Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed toe shoes when outdoors to cover your skin.
Culex pipiens mosquitoes, which are the primary carriers of West Nile virus, are most abundant when the weather is hot, according to a news release. Residents can help prevent these mosquitoes from breeding by eliminating areas of stagnant water from their properties including items like buckets, gutters and plant containers, kiddie pools, and any other items holding water around homes and businesses can become breeding sites, according to a news release from the health department.

The Lake County Health Department's Mosquito Surveillance Program coordinates mosquito trapping results throughout Lake County and mosquitoes are tested weekly for West Nile virus. The program also monitors reports of dead birds, which is an early sign of the presence of the virus, and investigates areas of stagnant water for the presence of mosquito larvae, specifically from the Culex mosquito, which is the primary carrier of West Nile in Illinois, according to a news release.

In 2019, 61 pools or batches of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus. Since 2002, there have been 73 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Lake County, as well as four confirmed deaths.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness, according to the news release. However, some may become ill usually 3 to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito and common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle ache. In some individuals, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.

People older than 50 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Residents can call the health department's West Nile hotline to report areas of stagnant water, report locations of dead birds, and obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus. The West Nile hotline number is (847) 377-8300.