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Posted on: July 1, 2019

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Lake County

A mosquito pool (batch of mosquitoes) sampled on June 13 in Highland Park, Illinois has tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquito pool is the first confirmed indicator of West Nile presence in Lake County in 2019.

In 2018, there were eight human cases of West Nile virus, including one death confirmed in Lake County. 

Practice the “4 Ds of Defense” to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes:

  • Drain: Drain standing water from items around your home, yard, and business.
  • Defend: When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, or IR3535 and reapply according to label directions.
  • Dawn and Dusk: Protect yourself all day and night, and wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.
  • Dress: Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed toe shoes when outdoors to cover your skin.

The Lake County Health Department’s Mosquito Surveillance Program coordinates mosquito trapping results throughout Lake County. Mosquitoes are tested weekly for West Nile virus. The program also monitors reports of dead birds (an early sign of the presence of the virus) and investigates areas of stagnant water for the presence of mosquito larvae, specifically from the Culex mosquito, which is the primary carrier of West Nile in Illinois.

In 2018, 72 pools or batches of mosquitoes and two birds tested positive for West Nile virus. Since 2002, there have been 73 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Lake County, as well as four confirmed deaths.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness. However, some may become ill usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle ache. In some individuals, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Find more prevention tips and information on West Nile virus at www.FightTheBiteNow.com. Residents can also call the Health Department’s West Nile hotline to report areas of stagnant water, report locations of dead birds, and obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus. The West Nile hotline number is (847) 377-8300.

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