West Nile virus found in mosquito sample in Sycamore

SYCAMORE – The DeKalb County Health Department has reported that mosquitoes collected in a trap in Sycamore tested positive for West Nile virus.

There have been no human cases of West Nile in DeKalb County this year, but the department is urging residents to take preventative measures. DeKalb is one of several counties where mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus, which means an increased risk of people contracting the virus, according to a news release.

Greg Maurice, director of health protection for the department, said in an email that the mosquitoes were collected Aug. 10 from a trap on North Cross Street in Sycamore, and more positive tests are expected to follow. Tests are collected weekly, he said.

“The messaging is for the entire county, especially since West Nile virus is endemic, meaning that it will be ongoing during the warm months each year in this area,” Maurice said.

The first reported human case of the virus in Illinois this year was a Will County resident in his 60s who became ill at the end of June, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms, but some might become ill three days to two weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito, according to the release.

Symptoms might be mild, including fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness such as encephalitis and meningitis have been known to develop, with people older than age 50 having the highest risk of severe symptoms or possibly death, according to the release.

People are advised to avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. When outside, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

Other tips include making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens, repairing or replacing screens that are torn, and keeping doors and windows shut, especially at night.

Birdbath water should be changed weekly, and any buckets, garbage cans or other containers that collect water should be turned over. Wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish should be properly maintained.

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