West Nile virus confirmed in DeKalb

DeKALB – A batch of mosquitoes collected in a trap in DeKalb last week tested positive for West Nile virus, according to a news release from the DeKalb County Health Department. It is the county’s first positive test for the virus this year.

A positive test for West Nile virus in mosquitoes is associated with an increased risk of the virus in people. The health department is collecting dead birds to be sent to the state lab for testing. Call 815-758-6673 to report freshly-dead birds such as crows or blue jays to determine if they should be tested. The birds must not show any signs of decay or trauma.

“The most effective way to prevent you or your family from being infected is to reduce the chances of being bitten by mosquitoes,” said Greg Maurice, director of the department’s Environmental Health Division. “This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and property where mosquitoes breed and hatch, and using mosquito repellent when outside.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on an infected bird. It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus. Most do not.

Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness.

For more information, visit www.idph.state.il.us or www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/prevention_info.htm.