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Out of the Ordinary

West Nile Virus cases surface in Chicagoland

Jason Oliva

Image of the Culex mosquito

A surge of numerous West Nile-infected mosquitos have been found in Chicago suburbs this summer.

West Nile Virus cases have been sprouting up all over the Chicagoland area this summer with mosquitoes carrying the virus having been found in Downers Grove, Bolingbrook and Naperville, to name a few.

On Tuesday, the DuPage County Health Department reported a human case of West Nile Virus found in woman, 50s, from Downers Grove. Because of her age, the woman has a higher risk of contracting West Nile and developing serious illness from the virus.

With all cases of virus-carrying mosquitoes popping up in Bolingbrook, three since June 20, it is a surprise not more people have been infected with West Nile.

West Nile Virus spreads when mosquitoes bite a bird that is infected with the virus, reproduce and then bite humans. Those in greater danger of contracting the virus do not use insect repellant or have free-standing water outside their homes. Plants with water-filled pots or vases and kiddie pools provide mosquitoes with damp breeding grounds to spread West Nile and precautions must be taken to remain disease-free this summer.

Ways to prevent potential West Nile infection are wearing long sleeves during dusk and dawn, using bug spray when engaging in outdoor activities, and making sure one’s window and door screens are intact, that is, if your home is lacking in air conditioning. 

Although symptoms vary for individuals, ranging from moderate headaches and fever to potential paralysis of the nervous system and even comas, West Nile Virus is treatable once the proper medical is sought immediately when symptoms arise.

Rest assured, West Nile Virus is not transmittable via human-to-human contact. The only method of contracting the virus is if an individual becomes bitten by a mosquito carrying the disease.

So when outdoors enjoying the last throws of summer, make sure you take the necessary precautions to ensure this summer is safe and virus-free.

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