DeKALB – The DeKalb County Health Department reported Monday that mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus had been found in the county. The mosquitoes collected in a trap in Sycamore were the first to test positive this year.
There have been no human cases of West Nile this year, although several counties in the area have reported positive mosquito samples, according to a news release from the health department, and mosquito samples can correlate to an increased risk in people getting the disease.
"West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito," according to the release. "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 will not show any symptoms of the illness at first but may become ill between three and 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, according to the release.
"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," the release said. "Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease."
Greg Maurice, DeKalb County Health Department director of health protection, said the most effective way to prevent being infected to is prevent being bitten and to take precautions.
“This includes eliminating standing water from around your house and using mosquito repellent when outside," Maurice said.
Additional tips include: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn; when outdoors, cover up skin and use repellent; make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting, intact screens; and change or eliminate areas of standing water such as birdbaths or buckets.
For additional information, check the DeKalb County Health Department website at health.dekalbcounty.org/services/nuisance-complaints/. To learn more about the programs and services of the Health Department, visit health.dekalbcounty.org/ or the visit the department on social media.