Mercer County Health Department confirmed the first positive indicator of West Nile Virus in Mercer County. This is a reminder to all residents to protect themselves and their families by following some simple and effective steps to prevent mosquito bites.
- If possible, avoid being outdoors during prime mosquito biting times, especially late afternoon and dusk to dawn.
- Apply insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus
- When practical, wear clothing that covers exposed skin as much as possible
- Eliminate stagnant water. Bird baths, clogged gutters, old tires, buckets, etc. can all serve as mosquito breeding areas. Keep these items from collecting water, or empty and refill with fresh water regularly.
Most people who are infected with West Nile Virus will not develop any symptoms. Of those who become ill, most will develop a milder form of the illness, which can include fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph glands or a rash. However, a small number of people can develop a more severe form of the disease with encephalitis or meningitis and even death. Please seek medical care if any of these symptoms occur.
Mercer County Health Department has several programs in place to help reduce and monitor the WNV throughout the county.
- Mosquitoes are collected and tested for the presence of WNV
- Dead Birds submitted for testing to the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
- Health Department personnel have been trained for mosquito pesticide application.
A special reminder to all individuals who own horses. Horses are also vulnerable to WNV disease if bitten by an infected mosquito. There is a vaccination available for horses to protect against West Nile Virus.