KANE COUNTY, IL — A dozen traps operated in Kane County have turned up positive for the West Nile Virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Since July 30, mosquitoes tested positive for the West Nile Virus from four traps in Elgin, three each in Batavia and St. Charles, and two in Geneva, the IDPH reports. Eleven counties in Illinois have reported WNV-positive mosquito samples, as of Monday.
In Illinois, West Nile Virus was first identified in September 2001, when laboratory tests confirmed its presence in two dead crows found in the Chicago area. The following year, the state's first human cases and deaths from West Nile disease were recorded and all but two of the state's 102 counties eventually reported a positive human, bird, mosquito or horse.
By the end of 2002, Illinois had counted more human cases (884) and deaths (67) than any other state in the United States.
Mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds and can then transmit it to humans and animals while biting to take blood. No vaccine is currently available for the virus.
Health officials say the incubation period is usually two to six days but can take up to 14 days. This period can be longer in people with certain medical conditions that affect the immune system.
Most people infected with the virus will have few or mild symptoms including fever, headache, body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph nodes. Severe infections can cause high fever, stiff neck, disorientation, muscle weakness and, rarely, death.
Measures to reduce your risk of being bitten include staying indoors at dawn, dusk or early evening; wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants whenever you are outdoors; spraying clothes with repellents and wearing protective clothing if spending time in a heavily wooded area and applying insect repellents containing DEET very sparingly on exposed skin.
Property owners can eliminate mosquito breeding areas in the following manner:
Discard old tires, tin cans, buckets, bottles, and other water-holding containers.
Tightly cover or store buckets inverted as to not collect water.
Fill in or drain any low places in the yard, holes in trees, or hollow stumps.
Keep gutters, drains, and ditches clean so that water will drain properly. Repair leaky pipes and faucets.
Cover trash containers to keep out rainwater.
Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use.
Change the water in birdbaths and plant pots at least once a week
Stock ornamental ponds with mosquito eating fish or use mosquito larva control products.
Keep grass short and shrubbery well trimmed around the house.
Report mosquito-breeding sites to your local mosquito control agency.
For more news and information like this, subscribe to the Geneva Patch for free. If you have an iPhone, click here to get the free Patch iPhone app; download the free Patch Android app here. Don't forget to like us on Facebook!