West Nile risk expected to heat up

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A health department in the Local 6 region says testing has found the West Nile virus in local mosquitoes.

The victim was an older person with underlying health problems, according to a news release from Tarrant County Public Health.

"We are now in the very hot time of year when West Nile virus activity begins to amplify", said Bart Hagston, environmental health director for Jackson Co. The mosquitoes were found in an area north of Honcut and south of Palermo. Since 2004, 229 residents have been infected with the virus, eight of which lost their lives.

Only about two of every 10 people who are bitten by an infected mosquito experience any illness, which includes mild symptoms of fever, headache, and body aches.

In 2016, the health department reports there were 152 human cases of West Nile virus in IL, including five deaths.

Eliminate standing water around your home, and trim tall grass in your yard.

West Nile virus is usually prevalent from May through October when mosquitoes are most abundant.

WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans through mosquitos.

Because of the high mortality rate of horses that contract the disease, owners are encouraged to make sure horses are kept current with their West Nile virus vaccinations.

Health officials said to protect yourself from mosquitoes that carry the virus, apply insect repellent with DEET, Wear long sleeves and long trousers. Repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535 and some oil of lemon eucalyptus and para-menthane-diol provide the best protection.

Residents can also aid the state's West Nile virus monitoring efforts by reporting any dead birds that have been dead for less than 48 hours.

Reduce exposure by avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes get most active around dusk and dawn.

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