WBEZ | West Nile http://www.wbez.org/tags/west-nile Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en How big of a threat is West Nile to the public at large? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/how-big-threat-west-nile-public-large-101859 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/35390843_83b30daf1b_z.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="(Flickr/Bev Sykes)" />According to the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/index.htm">U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention</a>, the United States is having the biggest outbreak of West Nile virus since 2004. While Texas is the hardest hit, Illinois has reported cases in 38 counties, compared to only 15 last year.&nbsp;</p><p>In the Chicago area, two suburban public officials have come down with West Nile, including Lombard&rsquo;s village president, who <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/eight-forty-eight-082012-101813">died over the weekend</a>. On Tuesday, Evergreen Parks Mayor James Sexton revealed that he too had <a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&amp;id=8781341">come down West Nile</a>.</p><p>There&#39;s one comforting thing about the situation in Chicago: It&#39;s &quot;Definitely not [as dire as in Dallas],&quot; Illinois Director of Public Health Dr. LeMar Hasbrouck told <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>&#39;s Tony Sarabia on Wednesday, <a href="http://science.time.com/2012/08/21/why-west-nile-virus-is-a-self-inflicted-wound/">referencing </a>the 10 people who have died in that city and the 200 that have been infected this summer.</p><p>What&#39;s the cause? Like most things, scientists are attributing the infections to seasonal changes, because warmer temperatures speed the breeding process of mosquitos, who get West Nile from birds.</p><p>However, &quot;It is an endemic infection, it is here to stay, it&#39;s just a matter of how we deal with it,&quot; says Dr. Hasbrouck. &quot;I think it&#39;s probably going to be a cycical pattern, as with many infections.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p>Hasbrouck says that 1 in 200 mosquitos have this virus. Most people are bitten but don&#39;t even know they&#39;re infected &mdash; West Nile just works its way out of their system. However, there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of being infected and having severe neurological symptoms. And there&#39;s seemingly not much push nation-wide for a vaccine.</p><p>Perhaps that&#39;s because some doctors like Hasbrouck don&#39;t consider West Nile &quot;that huge of a threat.&quot; At least, not yet. But more and more communities are investing in mosquito abatement programs, like Glenview and Skokie, <a href="http://skokie.patch.com/articles/man-confirmed-with-west-nile-virus">which have seen two people infected in the past few weeks</a>.</p><p>&quot;The message for the general public is be aware of mosquitos and take the necessary precautions,&quot; says Dr. Hasbrouck. &quot;I&nbsp;think you&#39;ve got to take a balanced approach and you&#39;ve got to see if there is more protection needed.&quot;</p><p>Some tips from the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth">Chicago Department of Public Health</a>&nbsp;to prevent West Nile:</p><ul><li>Use insect repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.</li><li>Consider limiting outdoor activity after dark (dusk to dawn), which is when Northern House Mosquito is most active.</li><li>When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing that includes long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks and shoes.</li><li>Check to see that all screen on doors and windows are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.</li><li>Encourage neighbors to exercise precautions.</li></ul><p>And try to stamp down mosquito breeding by:</p><ul><li>Draining and replacing water in birdbaths and children&#39;s backyard wading pools every four to five days</li><li>Properly disposing of old tires, jars, cans, pans, bottles, buckets and other unwanted containers that can hold standing water</li><li>Making sure that rain gutters, downspouts, swimming pools and pool covers are free of standing water</li><li>Keep grass and weeds cut short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes</li></ul></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 08:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/how-big-threat-west-nile-public-large-101859 Mosquitoes with West Nile virus found in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/mosquitoes-west-nile-virus-found-illinois-99566 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/2926115424_e5431b5f29_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois health officials announced mosquitoes in DuPage and Cook counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. They said the infected mosquitoes have shown up earlier than usual due to the mild winter and warm spring.</p><p>Linn Haramis, an entomologist with the Illinois Department of Public Health, said people should start taking precautions now, even though human cases of the virus typically don&#39;t start popping up until late summer.</p><p>&quot;Even if you&#39;re not seeing a lot of mosquitoes in the summertime, use insect repellant. It only takes a few seconds. It could help avoid a big problem,&quot; he said.</p><p>In addition to using insect repellant, Haramis said getting rid of standing water around the house where mosquitoes breed is another precaution people can take.</p><p>Illnesses from the virus are usually mild but can be deadly especially for people over 50. There were 34 confirmed West Nile cases and three deaths last year. Illinois saw its highest number of cases in 2002, with 225 reported cases and 22 deaths, according to the Department of Public Health.</p></p> Fri, 25 May 2012 12:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/mosquitoes-west-nile-virus-found-illinois-99566