By Lana Sanstrom
West Nile Virus (WNV) has not gone away nor the mosquitoes that carry it. The Douglas County Health Department has received reports of two dead birds this season which were tested and found to be negative for West Nile Virus. The citizens of Douglas County are still being requested to report the discovery of dead crows, blue jays, robins and other dead perching type birds to the health department; Viable specimens will be tested for West Nile Virus. When a bird is observed to have died recently, notify the health department to receive further instruction as to how to submit or have a bird collected. The Douglas County Health Department will deliver the bird to the state lab for testing. Please, contact the department at 217-253-4137.
Mosquito activity could be high during hot, dry weather even into the fall. The Culex mosquitoes that carry West Nile disease breed in stagnant water, like street catch basins and ditches, and discarded tire covers, etc.; they multiply rapidly, so check for and empty vessels that may contain water following a rain.
- REDUCE – make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
- 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 – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.The local health department or city government may be able to add larvacide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.
For further information, please call the health department at 217-253-4137 or check the website at www.dchealthdept.org/environmental-health/.