Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile Virus in Cook County; no human cases reported

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD) — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile virus in Illinois for 2021. 

The North Shore Mosquito Abatement District collected a positive mosquito batch on June 9, 2021 from Skokie in Cook County.  No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year.

“We are starting to see West Nile virus make its annual appearance,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike.  “Remember to take precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around your home.”  

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. 

However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illnesses including meningitis, encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

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