A batch of mosquitoes were collected in Will County Illinois this past Thursday, July 9th for testing. Results came back that they tested positive for West Nile Virus. According to the Will County Health Department, this is the first time this virus has showed up this year, and it’s significantly earlier than usual. The West Nile virus normally shows up around late August.
What is West Nile Virus?
It is a virus that is carried by certain mosquitoes that can be transmitted to humans through bites. Vic Reato, the spokesperson for Will County’s Health Department, most people don’t show any symptoms at all. For the 20% that do, however, symptoms may include headaches, body aches or fevers. The virus also has the possibility to cause meningitis, encephalitis, or death in very rare cases.
Why is the virus early?
Experts aren’t quite sure at the moment. Reato believes that it could be due to a difference in season for the area, but that is just a guess. Even still people do not need to worry about catching West Nile Virus, as it is unlikely, and even if they do, they most likely won’t show symptoms.
The excess of rain could be a factor as to why the virus has showed up earlier, though it’s not definite. Reato states that the heavy rainfall doesn’t mean that more mosquitoes will have the virus, though it does mean, due to mosquito breeding habits, there will be more mosquitoes about.
Could I get the virus?
As was stated, it is very unlikely. Last year in Illinois, 27 batches of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus, and yet there were only 44 reported cases in people. As long as one takes proper care to prevent against mosquito bites, everything should be fine. Wearing long sleeves and pants in combination with using insect repellant will greatly decrease one’s chances of getting the virus.
It should be noted that mosquitoes pick up the West Nile virus from birds, so the procedure if a bird is found dead in this area is to call the health department to let them know!