MA health officials raise West Nile virus risk level statewide

Lynette PayneAug 22, 2018

The DuPage County Health Department informed the City of Aurora that a case of West Nile Virus has been confirmed on Aurora's far east side.

Since May, the McDonough County Health Department and Western Illinois University's Miller-Hunt virology lab have been examining mosquitoes throughout the county.

Interior Health said it works closely with the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and Canadian Blood Services to monitor West Nile virus activity.

Fort Bend County Health and Human Services will continue to monitor the number of mosquito samples testing positive for mosquito-borne diseases.

Officials recommend using insect repellent containing DEET; wearing loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and trousers to reduce exposed skin; limiting time outdoors; and using screens on doors and windows. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

Dr. Monica Bharel, the state public health commissioner, says conditions are flawless for mosquito species carrying the virus to breed because of the hot and humid weather and frequent heavy rainfall. It is also encouraged to contact your local government if you notice floods or stagnant water in yards or roadside ditches, which could also act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

What is West Nile Virus?

There are no reported cases of humans or animals contracting West Nile, but more than 160 communities in the state already are at moderate risk for the virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes.

It's important to remember that mosquitoes become infected with the virus when they feed on infected birds.

It causes flu-like symptoms in one in five people, and one in 150 people suffer more severe symptoms including coma and paralysis. It could take up to 14 days for symptoms to occur and those over 60 years old are at the highest risk.

"The hot, humid weather in MA combined with frequent heavy rainfall has provided flawless conditions for mosquito species carrying West Nile Virus to breed", said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH.

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