Rock Island County health authorities reported July 11, 2014 they had found mosquitoes in the county that tested positive for West Nile virus.
The discovery makes Rock Island County the 13th in Illinois to report a mosquito batch or a dead bird that tested positive for West Nile. Henry County authorities recently reported a dead bird tested positive for the virus, and Mercer County recently discovered a positive mosquito batch, according to a spokesperson for the Rock Island County Health Department.
“While the public should not be alarmed by the news of positive tests of mosquito batches or dead birds, it should serve to remind people that there is the potential for human cases of West Nile virus in the county,” the spokesperson said.
West Nile is transmitted by mosquitoes that picked it up by feeding on an infected bird.
People older than 50 have the highest risk of severe disease from West Nile. Most infected people have no clinical symptoms, but about two in 10 infected people could have symptoms three to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, headache and body aches. Serious illness is rare but possible, and can include encephalitis, meningitis and even death.
July and August are peak months for human cases of West Nile virus to happen.
The best way to prevent mosquito-borne illness is to reduce mosquitoes around you and your home by wearing clothing that covers as much skin as possible, avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn, apply insect repellent when outdoors and eliminate sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed.