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Birds positive for West Nile

WOODSTOCK – Two birds have tested positive for West Nile virus, the McHenry County Department of Health reported Wednesday. The birds were found in Woodstock and Cary.

As of Aug. 3, the health department has recorded nine mosquito batches containing the virus, but no human cases of West Nile virus, according to a health department news release.

Twenty-nine other counties have reported positive bird and mosquito tests for West Nile, and two human cases this year, the Illinois Department of Public Health said in its latest report.

In McHenry County, one human case of West Nile virus was reported in each of the past two years.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that infected by feeding on an diseased bird.

Illness from West Nile virus usually is mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. But serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death, are possible.

Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.

Everyone is at risk, but persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe symptoms.

The risk remains until the first hard frost.

The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around the home and to take personal precautions. 

• Empty standing water from containers around the house; make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.

• Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active; use insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus; and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants for extra protection.

For information on West Nile virus, visit www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or call 815-334-4585.

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