Mosquitos test positive for West Nile Virus near Sterling
STERLING, Ill. (KWQC) - Whiteside County Health Department announced Wednesday that mosquitos collected near Sterling on Monday, August 1st have tested positive for West Nile Virus.
Health officials say positive tests are significant due to the short flight range of a quarter of a mile for Culex Mosquitos, and residents are at a greater risk of exposure than before as there are infected mosquitos flying in the Sterling area.
The virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, who received the virus when feeding on an infected bird, according to a press release. WNV activity is at its highest in August and September and the threat of exposure to the virus lasts until the first frost.
The health department points to the recent warm temperature as a reason for the increase of the virus in the bird and mosquito populations, and officials ask the public to continue being vigilant by following a few precautions as they go through peak season for mosquito-borne disease. Three of the recommended precautions include reducing exposure, repelling, and reporting.
Some of the ways to reduce exposure include the following:
- Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens and repair or replace any with tears or openings
- Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, clogged rain gutters, old boats, and any other receptacles, and change the water in bird baths weekly.
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
As for repelling mosquitos, Whiteside officials recommend wearing shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors, as well as applying insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535, according to label instructions when outdoors.
Officials also ask residents to report any dead birds to the Whiteside County Health Department. For more information about the West Nile Virus, click here.
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