The DuPage County Health Department continues to urge residents to take precautions to minimize the risk of mosquito bites.
The latest request comes as the health department said additional cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed in DuPage County. The count has risen to 12 with cases of the virus confirmed in residents from Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Villa Park and Westmont.
Last week the health department confirmed there were seven cases of West Nile virus. Those with the virus range in age from their 20s to 70s, according to a news release from the DuPage County Health Department.
So far only one fatality from the virus was confirmed. Lombard Village President Bill Mueller, 76, became the first West Nile fatality in DuPage County. He had been battling cancer since 2008, and had been hospitalized since Aug. 5 when he died last month.
The health department anticipated the number of people infected with the virus would continue to increase locally, according to the DuPage County Health Department. Statewide, 2012 human case data, including cases by county, are provided on the Illinois Department of Public Health West Nile virus website.
Mosquitoes, specifically the Culex pipiens, transmit the virus after biting infected birds. The mosquitoes spread the virus to humans and other animals through bites. There is no specific treatment for West Nile virus. Most people experience no symptoms. Those with mild cases may not know they have the virus; they may experience a fever and aches that go away on their own, according to the CDC. More severe cases may require hospital stays.
After being bitten, people typically have symptoms of the virus within three to 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to avoid the risk is to avoid being bitten.
Here are tips from the CDC:
- When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
- Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
- Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
- Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.
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