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updated: 9/10/2013 3:29 PM

Barrington woman tests positive for West Nile virus

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Daily Herald report

A 54-year-old Barrington woman has tested for positive for the West Nile virus, the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center reported Tuesday.

The woman, who lives in the Lake County portion of Barrington, was not hospitalized and is recovering, according to the health department.

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She is the first Lake County resident to test positive for the virus this year. Last year there were seven confirmed cases.

In addition to the human case, 15 pools (batches) of mosquitoes and two birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in Lake County this year. The health department is urging people to take precautions against mosquito bites.

"Although we are moving into fall, it is still important to protect yourself against mosquitoes," said Tony Beltran, the health department's executive director. "Until we have our first hard freeze, it is important to wear insect repellent and take other precautions."

Recommendations to prevent mosquito bites include limiting outdoor activity at dusk; wearing light-colored clothing that minimizes exposed skin and provides some protection from mosquito bites; making sure door and window screens fit tightly and that all holes are repaired; and applying insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535.

To report dead birds, areas of stagnant water (which are conducive for mosquito breeding), or to obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile encephalitis, call the health department's West Nile virus hotline at (847) 377-8300.

The department is no longer picking up dead birds this summer, but is mapping their locations to help determine areas of high West Nile virus activity. It is recommended that dead birds be disposed of by placing the bird in a plastic bag. Either double bag or tightly secure the bag and place it in your regular garbage.

While most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill, usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus may occasionally cause serious complications. In some individuals, particularly the elderly, the virus can cause muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.

More information can be found on the department's website, http://health.lakecountyil.gov/Population/Pages/West-Nile-Virus.aspx.

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