McHenry County reports first West Nile virus case of year

West Nile virus

"So the numbers could be higher, it's just that people might be getting West Nile and never getting tested because they're having mild flu-like symptoms and things like that", Lucas said.

Tilley said residents can reduce the risk of contracting West Nile by using repellent containing DEET, picaridin, IR 3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors the rest of the summer and into fall.

Certain bird species, especially crows and ravens, are particularly vulnerable to West Nile virus, and the discovery of dead birds serves as an early warning sign the virus is near.

"At this time we are in the peak of mosquito season", she said, adding that the department expects the number of human cases to spike going forward.

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MS now has two West Nile virus deaths and 36 confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne illness this year.

"By using information from these collection sites, our staff can target specific areas where we need to decrease the overall mosquito population in the county", Tilley said.

West Nile virus is not contagious from person-to-person through casual contact. Last week in Hamilton, 15 batches of mosquitoes from 10 traps tested positive.

County officials said birds and humans both receive the virus the same way, through mosquito bites. Infected mosquitoes can then spread the virus to humans and other animals when they bite. The first confirmed case was in Kootenai County.

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Health officials are advising Wisconsin residents to continue protecting themselves against mosquito bites.

Up to 20 percent of people who become infected will have symptoms that can include fever, headache, body aches, nausea, vomiting and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach, and back.

Wear long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, and socks when outdoors, especially at dawn and dusk to reduce the amount of exposed skin, as weather permits. When possible, residents should also limit time outdoors from dusk to dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Make sure that your doors and windows have tight-fitting screens to keep out mosquitoes.

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