The Health Department of the Ogle County announced something pretty alarming yesterday. It reported that a dead bird found in Mt. Morris has been found to be infected with the West Nile Virus (WNV).
For those who don’t know: mosquitoes get infected with WNV after feeding on birds carrying this debilitating virus. Then, the infection gets transferred to other animals and humans.
According to experts, the majority of the people infected by WNV don’t show any symptom. However, many of them might fall ill within 3 to 15 days of getting infected. People falling ill due to WNV can suffer from a series of mild symptoms like body aches, headaches, fever, swelling of lymph glands, and/or skin rash.
If the condition turns worse, patients might also experience more devastating symptoms such as meningitis and encephalitis. To avoid such situations or for preventing worsening of the patient’s condition, seeking immediate medical attention is extremely important. Healthcare professionals have already warned that individuals aged 50 or over are the ones at maximum risk of developing serious illness due to the West Nile Virus.
According to information provided by the Ogle County Health Department, there are some precautionary measures that can effectively minimize one’s chances of getting infected by WNV. One of the most significant ones among them is reducing your time of staying outdoors when mosquitoes remain most active. In the majority of the areas, mosquitoes are usually most active during the dawn and dusk.
Another useful way of avoiding the virus is by covering up the body as much as possible. Applying insect repellant can also be useful. Ideally, one should opt for an insect repellant that has picaridin, DEET, IR 3535, or lemon oil as its active ingredient.
We have already mentioned above that the infection spreads when mosquitoes feed on dead birds infected by the West Nile Virus. This makes it extremely important that you report to the local health department whenever you spot a dead bird.
Organizing mosquito control programs is also essential as mosquitoes perform the job of transferring the disease to humans and other animals. If you already have a mosquito control program in your area, inform your municipal government about areas with stagnant water as stagnant water is the breeding ground of mosquitoes.