On our Facebook page, we’ve tried to keep you updated on the most recent West Nile news for Illinois. and has been causing the largest outbreak of West Nile that the United States has seen since 2004. In Illinois, the number of cases of the disease are dramatically on the rise, with the number of humans infected nearly doubling from last week to a total of 48.
The health department reports almost all the cases in our state have turned up in Cook, Dupage, Lake, Kane and Kankakee counties. Luckily the number of people contracting the disease is still far below the Illinois peak 10 years ago when there was a total of 884 humans sick and 67 people who died as a result of the virus.
While the numbers are still relatively low, citizens need to remain diligent about mosquito protection, because the only way to prevent contracting West Nile is to not get bit by the virus carrying bug. We have heard many people remark that they have hardly seen mosquitoes this summer. Even though the overall population has been down, there has been a rise in the Culex mosquito which is the variety that carries West Nile. This is why it is still important to be diligent about warding off the pest.
Those most at risk to serious cases are the elderly and those with underlying health conditions and weakened immune systems. According to the CDC, if a person contracts West Niles Virus they may not have any symptoms until the virus develops into West Niles Fever or severe West Niles disease. Then the symptoms can include fever, headache, tiredness, body aches, occasionally a skin rash (on the trunk of the body) and swollen lymph glands.
Here are some tips on how to reduce your risk of contracting West Niles Virus:
- Use an EPA-registered insect repellent such as those with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- When possible, wear long sleeves and long pants (spray with repellent if the fabric is thin)
- Dusk and dawn are prime mosquito times. You may want to avoid outdoor activities during those hours
- Drain any standing water around your home. Flush bird baths frequently, drain kiddie pools, flush downspouts if they drain poorly Report dead birds to the authorities. Dead birds are a sign that West Niles is in your area
For further protection, you may want to consider contacting a pest control professional and investigate the possibility of fogging your lawn. There are several options to help control mosquitoes around your home. Quik Kill Pest Eliminators can help you evaluate if you have a potential problem and suggest how to have a mosquito free yard. Give them a call at 800-525-0505.