The Buzz in the Air Means Mosquito Season is Here!
And that means protecting yourself from all vector-borne illnesses.
Bloomington, IL—Warmer temperatures means spending more time outdoors. McLean County Health Department (MCHD) wants you to be familiar with the best methods to protect yourself from West Nile virus (WNV), one of the most commonly-reported vector-borne diseases (VBDs) in Illinois.
“Mosquitoes become infected with West Nile virus when they feed on infected birds. Infected mosquitoes then spread the virus to people and other animals,” said Tom Anderson, Director of MCHD Environmental Health Division. “When disease-carrying mosquitoes are more active the risk of human exposure and infection also increases.”
About 1 in 5 people who are infected will develop West Nile Virus symptoms which can include headache, body and joint pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and rash. People aged 50+ are at risk of more serious symptoms. Now that mosquitoes are active, MCHD and the Illinois Department of Public Health will monitor the presence of WNV in mosquitoes, birds, horses, and humans through late summer and early fall, notifying the public if the virus is detected in certain areas.
To minimize these risks of mosquito-borne illnesses, MCHD recommends following the 3 Rs:
- Remove areas of standing water around your yard or business where mosquitoes can breed, such as old tires or unused planting pots. It is recommended you do this at least once a week. It takes only 7-10 days for the average egg to develop into a biting adult, so the mosquito population can rapidly increase in a short period of time.
- Repel mosquitoes using insect repellent that includes DEET, lemon eucalyptus oil, or picaridin according to label instructions (consult a physician before using repellents on young children). You can also repel by wearing clothing that covers your skin, especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
- Report dead birds that show no sign of injury to the MCHD Environmental Health section at (309) 888-5482.
Click here to watch a short video on The 3 Rs (media may broadcast this video).
Click here to learn more about vector control and surveillance in Illinois.
Click here to access CDC graphic on the Lifecycle of Culex Species Mosquitoes.