PRINCETON — The Bureau County Health Department has confirmed that mosquitoes collected in Princeton and along the Hennepin Canal in eastern Bureau County during the week of June 25 have tested positive for West Nile virus.
These are the first mosquitoes that have tested positive for West Nile virus in Bureau County this year.
These positive tests indicate that West Nile virus is present in our local area.
“We are urging the public to use precautions against mosquito bites while attending outdoor events,” said Diana Rawlings, Bureau, Putnam and Marshall County Health Department administrator. “Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches, however, severe illness including meningitis or even death can occur in rare cases.”
People older than 50 or those with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of severe illness from the virus.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of the common house mosquito, Culex Pipiens. Mosquitoes acquire the virus by feeding on infected birds.
Taking simple precautions can help people avoid mosquito bites and help to prevent the spread of West Nile virus.
• Reduce the chance of a bite and the number of places for mosquitoes to breed by eliminating shallow containers of standing water and refreshing bird baths daily. Ensure that doors and windows have tight, properly fitting screens. Take extra care during evening and early morning hours when mosquitoes are active, or if possible, stay inside.
• Repel mosquitoes by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts, shoes and socks and by applying insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to product instructions. Consult a physician before applying insect repellents on children.
• Report areas where stagnant water has been sitting for more than a week, such as ditches or flooded yards.
For additional information regarding West Nile virus, call the health department at 815-872-5091, the Illinois Department of Public Health West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710, or go to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s West Nile Virus website, www.idph.state .il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.