West Nile Update

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"The worst is yet to come," those are the words of the Public Health Administrator in Winnebago County.

The health department says two out of six mosquito traps tested positive for West Nile this past week. The department has been tracking dead crows reports per square mile by zip code. The department says more than 80 percent of Illinois counties have tested positive for the virus. Administrators say don’t expect test results to get better anytime soon.

The department has established a West Nile virus information line in addition to the dead crow hotline. This line will be manned by public health professionals with special training on the West Nile virus. The number is 720-4240.

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Mosquito Protection Tips

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, hats and boots to reduce exposed skin.

  • Limit outdoor activities between dusk and dawn.

  • Apply repellent liberally to all exposed skin areas.

  • Apply repellents to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear.

  • Use mosquito coils (ensure coils do not contain DDT).

  • Sleep in well-screened areas whenever possible.

  • Ensure that door and window screens fit tightly and do not have holes.

  • Insect repellents that contain 30-35 percent DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) will provide adults with sufficient protection. The concentration of DEET in a repellent should not exceed 35 percent. Products with lower concentrations of DEET are effective but for a shorter period of time.

  • Reducing the amount of standing water on your property can significantly decrease the potential for mosquito breeding around your home.

  • Common breeding sites may include garbage cans, clogged roof gutters/drainage ditches, birdbaths, pool covers, flowerpots, tires, tarps, rainwater barrels, wading pools etc.

  • Containers that may accumulate water should be removed or holes drilled in the bottom.

  • Pools should be maintained and ornamental pools aerated or stocked with fish.

Source: www.lambtonhealth.on.ca/environmental/mosquito.asp contributed to this report.