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Local

West Nile virus detected in mosquito batch in Harvard

WOODSTOCK – The McHenry County Department of Health has reported that mosquitoes from a mosquito trap in Harvard have tested positive for West Nile virus. 

This is the first positive test for West Nile virus in McHenry County since last year, according to a news release from the health department.

One hundred twenty-eight mosquito batches had been tested as of Thursday; all other batches were negative for the virus. The Illinois Department of Public Health indicates that as of Wednesday, two other counties have reported two positive mosquito batches but no human cases so far this year. 

No human cases of West Nile virus were reported in McHenry County in 2012. 

The county health department will continue to collect and test mosquito batches throughout the remainder of the season (mid-October) and will accept a limited number of dead birds for testing. 

Residents should use insect repellent when going outdoors in the evening, with long-sleeved shirts and long pants for extra protection.  Other tips include emptying standing water from containers around the house and making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  

Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis and meningitis and death, are possible. Persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease. 

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

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