The first batch of mosquitoes of the year have tested positive for West Nile virus, and one was found in .
Mosquitoes collected Thursday, May 17, from Lemont and Norridge in Cook County, and Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Lisle, Westmont and Woodridge in DuPage County tested positive for the virus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
A crow collected by the Chicago Department of Public Health also tested positive for West Nile virus.
“Although it is a little earlier in the season than we normally find West Nile virus positive mosquito pools and birds, it is not unheard of,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “This is a good reminder as we head into the Memorial Day weekend and more people spend time outdoors, that it is important to protect yourself and wear insect repellent.”
This is the second time in less than a year that Lemont has had a run-in with the virus; .
Lemont Public Works Director Ralph Pukula said he was notified Tuesday of the infected batch, which was found in unincorporated Lemont. The the department only sprays for mosquitoes within village limits, which does not include DuPage County.
"This happens almost every year; it's not abnormal," he said.
Pukula said Public Works has been using the larvicide Altosid since April to kill mosquito larvae. They will begin spraying once the temperature becomes warmer.
Residents are encouraged to remove standing water around their homes, and should not interfere with natural water flow, Pukula said.
"Mosquitoes hatch in standing water, and a lot of times the mosquitoes in your neighborhood are coming from the water around your house," he said.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus from feeding on an infected bird, according to the Health Department. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
The best way to avoid West Nile is to, of course, avoid time outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, usually at dusk and dawn, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Wearing insect repellant that includes insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions, according to the DuPage County Health Department. Before using insect repellants on infants, consult a physician.
More information and preventative tips can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's website.