West Nile Warnings

The Winnebago County Health Department announces today that since September 6, 2006, 4 out of 15 locations sampled in Winnebago County had clusters of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus.

This indicates that despite a few cool evenings the mosquitoes which can transmit the virus from birds to people remain active in Winnebago County. “Until there are several hard freezes, citizen should remain vigilant about using mosquito repellent when outside from early dusk to dawn" states Larry Swacina, Environmental Health Director for the Winnebago County Health Department.

“West Nile Virus is in our community; it could be anywhere and it is very important that individuals follow personal precautionary measures to protect themselves from a mosquito borne illness. It is extremely important to either avoid or follow precautions for outdoor activities near dusk and in the early morning. When outdoors, between dusk and dawn, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long sleeved shirt. Apply insect repellent to exposed skin. An effective repellent will contain 25 to 35 percent DEET. The threat of West Nile Virus will remain in our County until we have several hard frosts, usually sometime in October” added Swacina.

This season in Winnebago County, out of approximately 250 clusters of mosquitoes collected to date, 34 clusters have tested positive for West Nile Virus; of the 80 bird carcasses sent to the State Diagnostic Laboratory from Winnebago County, 11 tested positive.

There have been 135 human cases in the state and six fatalities thus far this year. There are no confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus this year in Winnebago County. In 2005, Winnebago County had two human cases of West Nile Virus, no fatalities. Illinois in 2005 had 252 human cases reported, along with 12 fatalities.