The Macoupin County Public Health Department (MCPHD) has confirmed the first positive pool for West Nile Virus in Macoupin County for 2020. A pool of mosquitoes found near Girard tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV) on September 4, 2020.
The Macoupin County Public Health Department will continue surveillance and testing mosquito pools from across the county as well as conduct mosquito abatement with methods such as larviciding to help control mosquito populations across Macoupin County.
Monitoring for West Nile Virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches and dead birds, as well as testing humans with symptoms consistent with West Nile Virus. People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird should contact the health department, who will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people who become infected with WNV will not display any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, may occur. People who are older than 50 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to practice the 3 “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.
- Reduce – make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
- Repel – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET.
- Report – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week, such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department may be able to apply larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.
For more information about West Nile virus, visit mcphd.net/environmental-services/mosquito-surveillance-and-control/. Additional information can also be found at the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website or by calling the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (886) 369-9710 Mon – Fri 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.