First 2016 human case of West Nile Virus confirmed in Lake County

Waukegan, Ill. - The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center is reporting the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Lake County in 2016. A resident of Ingleside was hospitalized in late August and discharged in early September.

In addition to the human case, 84 pools (batches) of mosquitoes and two birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in the county thus far this year. The Health Department is continuing to urge people to take precautions against mosquito bites.

"This is the time of year when we see human cases of West Nile virus," said Mark Pfister, the Health Department's Interim Executive Director. "Although the weather is getting cooler, mosquitoes will remain active until the first hard freeze. We encourage people to stay active outdoors, but please remember to wear insect repellent and take other precautions to avoid mosquito bites."

Recommendations to prevent mosquito breeding include:

• Discard old tires, buckets, drums or any water holding containers. Poke holes in tires used as bumpers on docks

• Keep roof gutters and downspouts clear of debris

• Keep trash containers covered

• Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use

• Drain unused swimming pools

• Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water

• Change the water in birdbaths and plant urns at least once a week

• Store boats upside down or drain rainwater weekly

Recommendations to prevent mosquito bites include:

• Whenever possible, limit outdoor activity at dusk

• Wear light-colored clothing that minimizes exposed skin and provides some protection from mosquito bites

• Make sure door and window screens fit tightly and that all holes are repaired

• Apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

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. Please note that the Health Department is no longer picking up dead birds at this time, 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. See your healthcare professional if you think you have the symptoms of West Nile infection.

More information about West Nile Virus can be found on the Department's website at

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