MACON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - The Macon County Health Department said Friday it has discovered the county's first confirmed positive case of West Nile Virus in mosquitoes so far this year.
Sam Force, director of the Macon Mosquito Abatement District, said his agency sets 19 mosquito traps a week, and earlier this week, one of its traps caught a batch of mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus. He said it's unknown how many of the insects had the disease, so it could be anywhere from one to the approximate 50 that were in the batch.
“You don’t know how many in that batch has a virus," he said. "You assume that all of them have a virus.”
Fortunately, no human beings in Macon County have tested positive for WNV in 2019, and Force said the majority who contract it never even know. But for some, the virus can have severe effects.
“The large percentage of people that would have the virus, they have no symptoms," he said. "Some will have flu-like symptoms, and then if it becomes neurological, neuro-invasive, then it could cause paralysis and could even cause death."
Force said a person can't tell by looking at a mosquito if it has WNV, but there are steps they can take to avoid mosquitoes in general.
“Wear repellent," he said. "We recommend a product that contains at least 30 percent DEET. For younger children, you would want a lesser percentage of DEET."
Force also said to get rid of any standing water on property, as those areas attract mosquito breeding.
"Look over your property, and if you have standing water, drain it," he said.
The Macon Mosquito Abatement District says if you are aware of an area that has standing water for 3 or more days, you can contact them at (217) 875-2722 to treat it.