Macon County Detects West Nile Virus
By Sean Powers, with additional reporting from The Associated Press
The Macon County Public Health Department has confirmed cases of the West Nile virus in mosquitoes and birds.
Environmental Health Director Kathy Wade said there have not been any human cases of the virus in the county, but she encourages residents to take necessary steps to ensure that doesn’t happen.
“If you do decide to go outdoors, make sure you are wearing mosquito repellant and proper clothing," Wade said. "As far as protecting your home, good ways to just to make sure your windows and door screens are above tight, especially now that everybody is enjoying this nice weather and have their windows open to get some fresh air.”
There is no vaccine or cure for the disease, and symptoms can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands and a rash.
Last week, a Lombard man became the first person to die this year in Illinois from the disease.
U.S. health officials say there has been an alarming increase in the number of West Nile cases. They say the mild winter, early spring and very hot summer have fostered breeding of the mosquitoes.
So far, there have been more than 1,100 cases reported through the middle of August. That's three times as many as usually seen at this point in the year. About half the cases are in Texas.
Most West Nile infections are reported in August and September. West Nile virus was first reported in the United States in 1999.