Mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are in the metro area.
The Madison County Health Department announced that a mosquito batch collected from just outside Granite City, Illinois tested positive for the virus. Officials say the best way to avoid West Nile is to practice the "Three R's".
- REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
- Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
- Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. Change water in bird baths weekly.
- REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
- REPORT - In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Last year 290 Illinois residents were infected with the virus and 12 died.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or contact Madison County Health Department at (618) 296-6079 or visit our website at http://www.madisonchd.org/west-nile-virus-vector-surveillance.shtml