The Kane County Health Department has recorded its fourth human case of West Nile Virus this season in a 54-year-old male from Huntley. He was briefly hospitalized and recovered.
Late summer and early fall are the times when we are likely to see human cases of WNV. Although it is now getting late is the season, the risk of WNV exists until we have our first hard frost. You can find historical Kane County WNV data from this year and past years by visiting kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm.
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 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, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
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 or oil of lemon eucalyptus 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.
- Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. 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.
Additional information can be found on the West Nile page of the Kane County Health Department’s website or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s West Nile web page. People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
About the Kane County Health Department
In active partnership with our community, the Kane County Health Department improves the quality of life and well-being of all residents by developing and implementing local policies, systems, and services that protect and promote health, and prevent disease, injury and disability.