PEKIN, Ill. (WMBD) — The Tazewell County Health Department (TCHD) reported the first case of West Nile Virus in the mosquito population, detected late July.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted through the bite of a house mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. 

Symptoms of WNV include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In rare cases, symptoms may include meningitis or death. Immunocompromised and elderly people are at a higher risk for severe symptoms upon contraction of WNV.

Four out of five people infected with WNV do not show symptoms but can still be contagious.

“West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people. It is important to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home,” said TCHD Environmental Health Director, Melissa Goetze. “It is important to remember that no matter what season it is, there is an ongoing risk of disease from a mosquito bite after it feeds on an infected bird.”

TCHD recommends people “Fight the Bite” by practicing “The Three R’s.”

  • Reduce exposure: Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. 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 where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Repel mosquitoes: When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535.
  • Report mosquito breeding grounds: Contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

For more information, visit TCHD’s website.