West Nile virus found in Chicago-area mosquitos

August 16, 2011

City Room and AP Wires

(Flickr/Jon Hayes)

For the second time this year, mosquito samples collected in Joliet have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Will County Health Department officials say the mosquito samples were collected near the department' headquarters on Aug. 9.

Officials say the more than 134 mosquito samples from across Illinois have tested positive for West Nile virus, though no human case have been confirmed so far. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control, preliminary tests revealed the presence of the virus in one person in Indiana this season, but no symptoms thus far.

Most experts believe West Nile to be a seasonal epidemic, one that emerges in the summer and fall in North America.  The CDC says the best way to prevent the virus is to limit exposure to mosquitos by using repellant, wearning long-sleeves or staying indoors during dusk and dawn, when mosquitos are most active.

The CDC also recommends eliminating potential breeding spots for mosquitos by getting rid of standing water in pet dishes, bird baths, or pots and planters.

Since 2005, the Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed at least 585 cases of human WNV and 27 related fatalities.

There were 61 human virus confirmations and four Illinois deaths last year.