STERLING — Mosquitoes collected Aug. 1 near the northwest edge of town tested positive for West Nile virus, the Whiteside County Health Department said.
“A positive mosquito pool is significant since Culex mosquitoes have a very short flight range of approximately a quarter mile,” Rian Nailor, director of environmental health, said in a news release on Friday.
“A positive test tells us that there are infected mosquitos buzzing around Sterling, putting residents at greater risk of exposure,” he added.
West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that acquired the virus by feeding on an infected bird. August and September are the peak season for virus activity, and the recent warm temperatures have increased the risk in bird and mosquito populations.
People are asked to practice the three Rs of precaution: reduce, repel and report.
Reduce exposure. Avoid being outdoors, especially between dusk and dawn, ensure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and keep them shut at night. Eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed.
Repel mosquitoes. Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long sleeves outdoors. Apply repellent with DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR 3535.
Report. Inform the health department of dead birds at 815-626-2230 ext. 1224, and alert local government entities to stagnant water in public areas.