Even though West Nile virus has been found in a crow collected in Campton Township, Kane County Health Department officials on Thursday said it is too early to tell how much West Nile virus activity the county will see this summer.
"The activity is largely dependent on the weather," said Dan Eder, interim assistant director for community health resources at the Kane County Health Department.
This is the first evidence of West Nile virus activity in Kane County this year. Although West Nile activity usually doesn't happen until the end of July or August, six Illinois counties have seen either birds and/or mosquitoes test positive so far this year, Eder said.
"As it gets warmer, mosquitoes get more active," Eder said.
Last year, Kane County had no human cases of the illness. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, Eder said, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness, Eder said. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness – such as encephalitis and meningitis – and death are possible.
Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease, he said.
Eder said the best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around one's home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn, he noted.
More information about West Nile virus is on the Kane County Health Department's website, www.kanehealth.com.