ST. CLAIR COUNTY, Ill. – Health officials in St. Clair County say a recent mosquito sample has tested positive for the West Nile virus.
At present, 11 counties in Illinois have reported positive mosquito samples for West Nile: St. Clair, Clay, Cook, DuPage, Lake, Macoupin, Massac, McHenry, Montgomery, Pope, and Vermilion.
Last year, 26 counties reported positive samples. For the 2020 season, the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 39 human cases of West Nile virus and 4 deaths.
St. Clair County did not have any positive human cases of West Nile in 2020.
The health department is reminding everyone they can reduce their exposure by staying indoors when mosquitoes are most active, eliminating sources of standing water, and keeping doors and windows shut in the evening. When outdoors, you can wear long clothing or wear insect repellent with DEET.
The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird.
The CDC says that most people infected with West Nile virus do not develop any symptoms. About 1 in 5 people who are infected develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, is possible.
The most serious cases of West Nile can be deadly.
The elderly are more at risk of getting sick because their immune system is often weaker.