The City of Evanston’s Health and Human Services Department has received a report of the first human case of West Nile virus in the city this year. As of October 14, 57 cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Illinois this year; a total of 44 cases were reported in Illinois in 2014. The first Evanston mosquito batch that tested positive for West Nile virus this year was collected on July 1.
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 and headache. More severe cases can be associated with a high fever with head and body aches and disorientation, convulsions and tremors, and even paralysis and death. Symptoms can appear 3 to 14 days after infection and may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, many people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. People older than age 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
“Residents need to be cognizant that West Nile virus prevention does not stop with the adult mosquito operations performed by the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District,” said Evanston Health and Human Services Department Director Evonda Thomas-Smith.
The best way to prevent West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn
- When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flower pots, wading pools, old tires, and any other receptacles.
Contact the North Shore Mosquito Abatement District (NSMAD) at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 847-446-9434 to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
For additional information about the West Nile virus, check the Illinois Department of Public Health online at dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus, or contact the Evanston Health and Human Services Department via email at email@example.com or call/text 847-448-4311