Officials: 1st Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile Virus in Chicago This Year

(FotoshopTofs / Pixabay)(FotoshopTofs / Pixabay)

The Chicago Department of Public Health has confirmed the first batch of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile Virus in the city for 2021.

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Mosquito traps placed around the city have been tested weekly since late May. Of 108 pools tested between July 5 and July 9, four were positive for the virus. The pools were located in the O’Hare and Beverly community areas, according to CDPH data.

CDPH will continue to monitor the areas where the mosquitos tested positive. No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in 2021.

In addition to the traps, the city’s West Nile control response includes treating 40,000 catch basins with larvicide.

There are a number of precautions people can take to avoid contracting West Nile virus, according to CDPH: 

— Use insect repellant that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus.

— Eliminate standing water weekly from sources including flowerpots, gutters, tires, toys, pet water dishes and birdbaths.

— Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.

— When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.

— Make sure all screens, windows and doors are tight fitting and free of holes. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.

West Nile virus is typically spread to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes, but most mosquitoes do not carry the virus.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 out of 10 people infected with West Nile don’t develop any symptoms. Of those who do, approximately 1 in 5 will experience a fever and symptoms such as headache, body aches and vomiting. One in 150 people infected will suffer from a serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis. 

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]

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