Services



    







Based on nationwide experience in Illinois over the previous 10 years of WNV presence in the United States, the peak period for WNV transmission, particularly to humans, has been from mid-July through the middle of October. It is important to keep in mind again that this is influenced by many environmental factors that affect the viral amplification cycle (e.g., weather, host and vector densities, immune status and other characteristics).

“Although we have experienced cooler than normal temperatures in Northern Illinois for September, we have not yet had several hard freezes to abate mosquito activity, so it is important for people to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites,” said Winnebago County Public Health Administrator, Mike Bacon.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

“Every WNV season, the Winnebago County Health Department offers a phone line for residents to report the location and number of dead birds” said, WNV Program Manager, Todd Marshall. The report line number to call is 815- 720-4245. After calling in a report of a dead bird, you can dispose of the bird yourself, or leave it where it lay, if not picked up for testing within 24 hours of your call,” added Todd. When calling the hotline to report dead birds, please leave the address, zip code, town, type and number of dead birds found.

 
Dead birds cannot spread West Nile Virus, but it is advised to avoid barehanded contact with dead birds and other animals since they carry a variety of germs. Please use a shovel, gloves or double-plastic bags to place the carcass in garbage bag or can” added Todd Marshall. The Health Department has also opened a West Nile Virus Information line for residents who have questions or wish to speak to a health professional. That number is 815-720-4240.
 
The best protection against West Nile virus is to limit activities at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes that could carry the virus are most active. Protective clothing will ideally include lightweight, loose fitting, long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks. It’s best to always apply a repellant containing DEET (25% for adults, 10% for children, and not recommended for infants) when going outdoors. CDC has added additional products containing picaridin and lemon of eucalyptus. Both ingredients have also proven effective as mosquito repellents.
 
 
Personal/Home Precautions to Prevent West Nile Virus
 
      Alert health authorities to potential mosquito breeding sites in your area.
 
      Avoid outdoor activities in the early morning and at dusk. Whenever outdoors between dusk and dawn, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. Loose-fitting, light-colored clothing is best.
 
      Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 25 to 35 percent of the active ingredient DEET or picaridin or lemon of eucalyptus. Spray the repellent not only on exposed skin but also on clothing. Consult a physician before using repellents on very young children. 
 
      Drain standing water in your yard at least once a week. Pour water from mosquito breeding sites, such as flower pots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, swimming pool covers, boats, discarded tires, buckets, barrels, cans, or similar items in which mosquitoes can lay eggs. For permanent standing pools of water, mosquito larvicide can be used. The larvicide can be purchased from many retail stores selling garden supplies. Please follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for use.
 
      Check screens on porches and patios for tears and other openings.
 
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the following websites:
                Illinois Department of Public Health at www.idph.state.il.us
                Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm
                Winnebago County Health Department at www.wchd.org
 
###