STERLING – It’s a good reminder to dump any standing water that might be on your property: A crow found in Sterling tested positive for West Nile disease, Whiteside County Public Health Administrator Beth Fiorini said in a news release.
The crow contracted West Nile from a Culex mosquito, which is the primary spreader of the virus.
Recent storms have provided a natural habitat for Culex mosquitoes to multiply. They reproduce in containers of stagnant water, such as flower pots or trays, bird baths, barrels, clogged roof gutters, boats and abandoned swimming pools, Gene Johnston, the county director of environmental health, said in the release.
Hot weather is also conducive to large mosquito hatches and the rapid multiplication of the virus.
Emptying outside containers will help, but will not solve the problem.
“Regardless of the effort to eliminate or treat stagnant water, mosquitoes will continue to reproduce. That is why personal protection is so important,” Johnston said.
Still, there’s no need to panic.
“Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness, which includes mild symptoms of fever, headache, and body aches,” Fiorini said.
“In rare cases, infection can lead to a more serious illness, which may include inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. The illness appears 3 to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.”
Those who venture out between dusk and dawn should wear shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt, and apply insect repellents that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin.
Go to www.whitesidehealth.org or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website, www.idph.state.il.us, or call the Whiteside County Health Department at 815-772 7411, ext. 104, for more information about West Nile virus surveillance and prevention.