ROCK ISLAND -- The Rock Island County Health Department is reporting a significant increase in positive test results for West Nile virus across the region.
Mosquito batches collected from traps in Moline and Rock Island as well as a dead blue jay found in Rock Island have tested positive for the virus.
Thus far, there have been no reported cases of West Nile in humans in the county, but with late summer being a peak season, the risk of transmission is increased, according to the health department. The risk can be expected to extend beyond Rock Island and Moline. There have been five human cases so far this year reported in the state of Illinois.
The health department recommends that until the first killing frost of the fall, people reduce their potential risk by following the "three R's" - reduce, repel and report. That is, reduce exposure by keeping windows and doors shut, reduce sources of standing water where the bugs breed and repel the insects by wearing shoes, socks and long pants and shirts when outside if possible and applying insect repellent.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, West Nile causes no symptoms in 70 to 80 percent of those it infects, but about one in five may experience a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.