First West Nile positive mosquitoes in Will County this year detected

Close up of mosquito on skin
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Will County health officials say they have detected the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in the county this year, in a batch from Joliet on June 21.

Flu-like symptoms typical, sometimes turning serious

West Nile virus typically causes flu-like symptoms in humans, though eight out of 10 of those infected do not develop any symptoms.

About one in 150 of those infected develop more serious cases, affecting the central nervous system, according to a news release from the Will County Health Department.

“West Nile Virus can lead to serious illness, especially for our Illinois seniors and people with weakened immune systems,” said Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “With the virus appearing earlier this year following a milder winter and spring, I urge everyone to fight the bite in their communities.”

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Will County so far this year.

Protecting against West Nile virus

There is currently no vaccine to prevent West Nile virus. But community members can protect themselves against transmission by mosquito bites by practicing the three “R’s,” says the Illinois Department of Public Health:

  • Reduce exposure by eliminating standing water on your property and seal up screens with tears or openings. Also try to keep windows and doors shut.
  • Repel mosquitoes by using insect repellant with either DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. Wear long pants, light-colored long sleeve shirt, shoes and socks when outside
  • Report spots with long-standing stagnant water to the local health department or city government, who may be able to add larvicide to the water to kill off any mosquito larvae.

More information about West Nile virus is available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

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