The McHenry County Department of Health has confirmed its first human case in 2017 for West Nile virus. An elderly individual from Crystal Lake remains hospitalized.
As of Aug. 23, 15 mosquito batches collected in McHenry County have tested positive for West Nile and no birds have tested positive.
In 2016, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, there were 155 cases of human West Nile virus with six deaths reported in the state.
So far in 2017, state health department reports 4 human cases with zero deaths.
The McHenry County Department of Health continues to urge residents to take precautions as the risk of mosquito-borne West Nile virus lasts until the first hard frost.
Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death, are possible.
Illness can occur 3-15 days after an infected mosquito bite. The disease can affect all ages, but persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease.
The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with West Nile virus is to follow some basic steps:
• Limit your time outdoors during peak mosquito biting hours which are from dusk to dawn;
• When outside (evening and early morning), use repellent and protective clothing, such as long-sleeves, long pants and socks;
• Spray clothes with repellent containing DEET for extra protection and always follow label directions;
• Get rid of standing water around your home where mosquitoes will breed (bird baths, old tires, garbage cans, flower pot trays, wheelbarrows);
• Have tight-fitting screens on both windows and doors; replace screens with tears.
For information on West Nile virus, visit www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or call (815) 334-4585.