The Peoria City/County Health Department has confirmed the first two human West Nile virus cases reported in Peoria County 2012.
The Peoria City/County Health Department reported a female in her 30s and a male in his 50s became ill earlier this month. Both individuals are no longer hospitalized and are recovering.
“We are seeing an increase in West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes throughout the region and the first area human cases serve as a good reminder that we all need to take precautions,” said Peoria City/County Health Department administrator Greg Chance through a press release Sept. 13.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.
Some people will not show any symptoms.
In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People 50 and older are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
Chance further states, “The best way to prevent West Nile disease is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Precautions include practicing the “R’s” — reduce, repel, and report.”
REDUCE exposure — avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
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 dead birds and areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found by logging onto www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.
Surveillance numbers are updated every day at noon on the IDPH website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnvsurveillance12.htm.
For other Public Health issues, visit Peoria City/County health department website at www.pcchd.org.