A mosquito captured last week in northern Oak Park has tested positive for the West Nile Virus. This incident is the first reported case of West Nile to occur in the village this year, according to officials.
The West Nile Virus is typically spread after a mosquito bites an infected dead bird, followed by a person. Children, pregnant women and the elderly are at the highest risk to contract the disease, according to the US Health Department.
The state of Illinois has only reported two cases of the West Nile Virus affecting humans in 2016. However, this virus has been historically most active from July to September, which is why it is important for Oak Parkers to take proper precautions.
“Avoid being bitten by mosquitoes by wearing long sleeves and pants, limiting time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active and wearing insect repellent containing DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus,” according to a news release from the village. “Residents also are urged to eliminate potential mosquito breeding sites by cleaning roof gutters, storing outdoor containers upside down and emptying birdbaths every few days.”
The Des Plaines Valley Mosquito Abatement District is responsible for spraying adult mosquitoes in Oak Park to help keep the situation under control. Residents who wish to be notified for scheduled sprayings may sign up through the Community Notification System.