Mosquitoes pose serious risk

There was a report of West Nile Virus, caused by mosquito bites, in St. Louis County on June 10. Photo: CDC

You may not have heard about it for a while, but according to the CDC, the dreaded West Nile Virus is still around. This virus, caused by the bite of an infected mosquito, was reported in St. Louis County on June 10. The St. Louis County Health Department found instances of the virus in several communities across the city in the past month. Non-human activity of infected bugs was also found in several Illinois counties.

If infected with West Nile Virus, you may experience headaches, body aches, fatigue, swollen lymph glands and sometimes a skin rash. For those infected, these symptoms can last for a few days or up to a couple of weeks. The biggest concern with West Nile Virus is that the infection can turn into something more serious. One in 150 people experience complications from West Nile, which can include severe conditions such as neuroinvasive disease, encephalitis, meningitis or poliomyelitis. All of these conditions affect either the brain or spinal cord and can be fatal if not properly treated.

The best way to protect yourself and your family is to:

  • Reduce your exposure to mosquitoes.
  • Avoid being outside at dawn and dusk, when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Wear long sleeved clothing and insect repellant containing DEET if you must be outside.
  • Spray a light layer of insect repellant on clothing, rather than skin, if you’re concerned about chemical exposure.
  • Pour out any standing and stagnant water that has collected.
  • Keep gutters free of leaves and debris, so water will run off properly.
  • Keep pet water dishes filled with fresh water.

Visit here and here for more information on West Nile Virus and protection from mosquitos bites.

Human cases of West Nile Virus were reported in the dark green states. Photo: CDC

— J.B. Dawson