McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) reports a significant increase in mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
Fifteen mosquito batches from August 27-September 5 tested positive as compared to five positive batches over a four month period (May-July).
The recent trap locations were from Algonquin Township, Harvard, Hebron, Lake in the Hills, Nunda Township and Spring Grove. The recent dry hot weather is the perfect breeding environment for the Culex mosquito which carries WNV.
Residents are urged to take precautions to reduce their risk of becoming infected with WNV.
As of today, MCDH has tested 426 mosquito batches, with 20 testing positive. The State Health Department reported 55 counties with WNV activity on September 4, with three human cases.
McHenry County reported its first human case of WNV for 2013 on August 21; six human cases of WNV were reported in McHenry County in 2012. MCDH has submitted 21 birds this year for testing, with nine testing positive for WNV.
It is important to remember that the risk of WNV remains until the first hard frost. MCDH will continue to collect and test mosquito batches throughout the remainder of the season (mid-October).
Residents should continue to use insect repellent when going out of doors in the evening, with long sleeved shirts and long pants for extra protection. Other tips include emptying standing water from containers around the house and making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis and death, are possible.
Persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease. For more information on WNV, visit www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or call 815-334-4585.