Health

First positive test for West Nile virus confirmed in Adams County

Posted: Sep. 19, 2019 5:20 pm Updated: Sep. 20, 2019 12:14 am

QUINCY -- Mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile virus for the first time this year in Adams County.

The Adams County Health Department said staff collected mosquitoes Wednesday in Quincy that tested positive for West Nile.

"The weather is still warm and favorable for West Nile virus activity," said Environmental Health Superior Tony Dede. "Although we see West Nile virus in Illinois every year, it's still important to take precautions to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around your home."

Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds. Sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms also are tested.

Anyone who sees a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus from infected birds.

Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches, which may last from a few days to a few weeks. Four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.

In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis or death can occur. People over 50 and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

The Health Department recommended practicing the three "Rs" -- reduce, repeal and report.

Residents are encouraged to make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screen and to repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Doors and windows should be kept shut. Standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots and old tires, should be eliminated or refreshed each week.

When outside, residents should wear socks and shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil or lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535.

Residents also should report dead birds to their local health department.