A forty-year-old woman from DuPage County tested positive last week for West Nile Virus. The woman is the first person in the state this year to test positive for the virus that is typically spread though mosquito bites.
Kendall County Health Department Director RaeAnn VanGundy says you can easily reduce your risk of catching West Nile Virus by repelling mosquitoes.
Mosquitoes can be kept out of homes by keeping doors closed and by using tight-fitting screens on windows. VanGundy says there are things you can do in your own yard to help others by reducing the number of mosquitoes.
Health officials are also asking people to report any stagnant water that's been sitting for a week or more. Sometimes chemicals can be applied to the water to kill mosquito eggs.
As with many viruses, older adults, or those with other health conditions, are more at risk.
Symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In rare cases, the virus can be fatal. The Illinois Department of Public Health says that four out of five people carrying the virus won't show symptoms.
Last year, there were 28 human cases of the virus and just one death. 46 counties reported cases in mosquitoes, birds, horses, and humans.
Mosquitoes often pick up the virus from infected birds. If you see a dead bird with no obvious signs of injury you can contact your local health department who might then test the animal. Do not handle any dead animals on your own.