The Carroll County Health Department (CCHD) reported Tuesday, Sept. 14, that collections from two mosquito trap have tested positive for West Nile Virus (WNV).

The first collection was on Friday, Sept. 10, near Savanna and the second collection was on Monday, Sept. 13, in Mount Carroll.

Annually, mosquito surveillance is done by LHD staff throughout Illinois. Traps are set out among the participating counties which collect female specimens. Note the male mosquitos do not bite. The females are then collected two times each week and analyzed in house for the presence of West Nile Virus.

“Here in Carroll County, a total of three traps are presently being monitored,” said Carroll County Health Department Administrator Craig Beintema. “Locations vary week by week as representation from the entire county is desired.

The normal sequence of WNV-positives is birds, then mosquitoes, and finally, humans, according to Environmental Health Associate Douglas Lieb.

"In general, you expect to see West Nile Virus toward the end of the summer and into the early fall, so it's not surprising that we have a WNV-positive mosquito batch," Lieb said. "We will all have to be extra vigilant about mosquito bites until at least the first couple of heavy frosts."

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness, which is usually mild, and includes fever, headache, and body aches, but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and even death are possible. People over the age of 50 have the highest risk of severe West Nile disease.

Lieb added that the best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:

•Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.

•When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

•Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

•Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including stagnant water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile Virus can be found on the IDPH web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.