DuPage County residents are being asked to take precautions to protect against West Nile virus following an increase in mosquito samples that tested positive.
In a press release, the DuPage County health department revealed an increase in mosquito samples that tested positive for the virus, but a specific number of samples remain unclear. Statewide, 408 batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. No human cases have been reported this year.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, that picks up the virus by feeding on an infected bird, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Common symptoms in humans include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches, with symptoms lasting several days to several weeks.
In hot, dry weather, mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus breed in areas with standing water, such as street catch basins, ditches, birdbaths, flower pots and buckets, where the mosquitoes multiply rapidly, according to the DuPage County Health Department.
As people enjoy the remaining summer days outdoors, health officials are urging people to follow the “4Ds of Defense to Protect” against the virus:
- Draining: Dispose of objects that collect standing water around your home, yard, or business. Scrub and fill regularly (at least weekly) pet water bowls and bird baths.
- To defend: Use an insect repellent with DEET outdoors and reapply as instructed.
- dress: Wear long pants, long sleeves and closed-toe shoes outside to cover the skin.
- Dusk to dawn: Wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.
For information on current activities in West Nile, residents are encouraged to visit the DuPage County Health Department’s website.