West Nile virus found in batch of Carroll County mosquitoes

The Carroll County Health Department has identified West Nile virus in two test batches of mosquitoes in Savanna and Mt. Carroll.

The first collection was on Friday near Savanna, and the second collection was on Monday in Mt Carroll.

“In general, you expect to see West Nile Virus toward the end of the summer and into the early fall, so it’s not surprising that we have a WNV-positive mosquito batch,” Environmental Health Associate Douglas Lieb said. “We will all have to be extra vigilant about mosquito bites until at least the first couple of heavy frosts.”

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness, which is usually mild, and includes fever, headache, and body aches, but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and even death are possible. People over the age of 50 have the highest risk of severe West Nile disease.

Lieb said the best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Precautions include:

Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.

When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including stagnant water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.