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PRINCETON — The Bureau/Putnam County Health Department continues its surveillance of West Nile Virus (WNV) activity, though the peak season is technically past.

So far this season, two human WNV cases have been confirmed in Illinois, both in August. The first human WNV case in central Illinois involved a Tazewell County man in his 50s. Statewide, the first human case involved a McHenry County woman in her 50s. To date, WNV positive birds, mosquitoes and/or human cases have been reported in 52 counties.

On Tuesday, Kurt Kuchle, director of health protection for the Bureau/Putnam County Health Department, said the local health department will continue its surveillance until mid-September, depending on how warm the weather stays. Though Illinois is past the peak season for WNV, the warm, dry weather will extend the season somewhat, he said.

So far this year, Bureau County has had two positive mosquito pools, and Putnam County has had one positive pool. The number of traps set out in each county has been scaled back to one in each county, Kuchle said.

Also, three dead birds have been collected in each county for WNV testing with no positives. Each county may submit up to five birds annually for testing.

With the warm weather continuing and many people spending time outdoors for area football games and other activities, people should remember to take necessary precautions to safeguard themselves against mosquito bites, Kuchle said.

As reported earlier in the Bureau County Republican, some of those precautions include reducing exposure to mosquitoes by avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn; repelling mosquitoes by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirt and using insect repellent when outdoors; and reporting areas of stagnant water to local health or municipal officials.

The local WNV surveillance program will cease with the first frost, Kuchle said.

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