1st West Nile virus-positive mosquitoes found in Illinois in 2020

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP/WTVO) — State public health officials say they’ve confirmed Illinois’ first mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile virus this season.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Wednesday that Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District staff collected the positive mosquitoes Friday in the Evanston. No human cases have been reported so far in 2020.

“While we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also remember to take steps to protect our health from other illnesses,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “Getting outdoors is a great way to combat being cooped up, but you need to take precautions to protect yourself from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around your home.”

The first mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus last season were collected on May 21st, twenty-one days later than this year. Health department records show 74 Illinois counties reported West Nile virus positive mosquitoes or birds or a human case in 2018. There were 28 human cases last year, including 1 death – down from 17 in 2018.

The virus is transmitted through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, nausea, headaches and muscle aches, however most people won’t show symptoms.

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