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Communities Up Mosquito Treatments to Combat West Nile Virus

The McHenry County Health Department confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county this week.

Area communities are upping their mosquito spray applications with the hopes of combating West Nile Virus in the area. 

The Lake in the Hills Village Board last week approved an additional spray treatment for the month of September. The treatment will be done in conjunction with the village of Huntley and the city of Crystal Lake

Clarke — the provider for the village's mosquito spray applications — encouraged the additional application in a Aug. 31 letter to the village, noting that the area remained at a moderate to high risk for a West Nile Virus outbreak. 

Clarke has conducted all four contracted mosquito treatments and the recent board approval will allow for a fifth application in September. The cost is $4,500. 

Also this week, the McHenry County Department of Health confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus in the county. A 56-year-old Cary man contracted the virus, was not hospitalized and has since recovered, according to a MCDH press release. 

So far this year, 41 mosquito batches and eight birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus in the county. 

The state's health department has recorded 115 human cases, including three deaths so far in 2012. In 2011, there were 34 cases and three deaths. 

Signs, Symptoms of West Nile Virus 

Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. Serious illnesses, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death, are possible. 

Illness can occur 3 to 15 days after an infected mosquito bite. The disease can affect all ages, but persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease. 

Public health officials continue to urge residents to take precautions as the risk of mosquito-borne WNV lasts until the first hard frost, according to the MCDH news release. Mosquitoes transmit the virus to humans after feeding on a bird infected with WNV. 

The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with WNV is to follow some basic steps:

  • Limit your time outdoors during peak mosquito biting hours which are from dusk to dawn
  • When outside (evening and early morning), use repellent and protective clothing such as long-sleeves, long pants and socks.
  • Spray clothes with repellent containing DEET for extra protection.  Always follow label directions.
  • Get rid of standing water around your home where mosquitoes will breed (bird baths, old tires, garbage cans, flower pot trays, wheelbarrows).
  • Have tight-fitting screens on both windows and doors; replace screens with tears.

Source: McHenry County Health Department press release 

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