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Published on July 08, 2015

DeKalb County Health Department offers tips to residents on protection from mosquito-borne illnesses. 

July 8, 2015

Courtesy of the DeKalb County Health Department

cartoon mosquitpThe DeKalb County Health Department reminds residents to be cautious and protect against West Nile virus (WNV). Recent heavy rain and flooding have caused an increase in mosquitos and mosquito bites.  Many of the mosquitos residents are noticing, are Aedes Vexans or nuisance mosquitos.  These nuisance mosquitos are aggressive biters and primarily bite during the day.  Nuisance mosquitos in the United States rarely if ever transmit disease.  The same precautions that are utilized to prevent West Nile Virus are also effective with nuisance mosquitos.

WNV is an infection carried by the Culex mosquito that breeds in small pools of stagnant water.  They rest during the day in areas of vegetation but they are most active and likely to bite between the hours of dusk and dawn.  Jane Lux, Public Health Administrator explains  “the best way to prevent West Niles Virus 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 practicing the three “R’s”- Reduce, Repel, and Report.”

REDUCE exposure:  Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. 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 or refresh all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other receptacles. 

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

REPORT: Report dead birds to the DeKalb County Health Department at 815-748-2452.

The DeKalb County Health Department performs routine surveillance and testing of birds and mosquito pools from May to October.  Currently DeKalb County has no positive bird or mosquito test results, however positive results have been recorded in Illinois.  The Health Department also monitors for any infection of West Nile in people.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito.  Mosquitoes become infected after feeding on an infected bird.  It is important to remember that not all mosquitoes, or birds, carry West Nile virus – most do not.

Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.  Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness.

Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis have been known to develop. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.

For additional information, check the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us, or the CDC’s (Center for Disease Control) “Fight the Bite” website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/prevention_info.htm

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