McHenry County Department of Health (MCDH) reports that mosquito batches collected on July 31 and August 6 from mosquito traps in Nunda Township and Lake in the Hills have tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV). These are the first positive tests for WNV in McHenry County in 2015. MCDH has tested 311 mosquito batches as of August 18; all other batches tested negative for WNV. IDPH reported 44 human cases in 2014, including 4 fatal. One human case of WNV was reported in McHenry County in 2014. Two birds collected in McHenry County have been submitted and tested with negative results.
MCDH will continue to collect and test mosquito batches throughout the remainder of the season (mid-October) and will accept a limited number of dead birds for testing. It is important to remember that the risk of WNV remains until the first hard frost. Residents should continue to use insect repellent when going out of doors in the evening, with long sleeved shirts and long pants for extra protection. Other tips include emptying standing water from containers around the house and making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis and death, are possible. Persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease. For more information on WNV, visit www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or call 815-334-4585.