Four human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in the county this year, including one death of a person older than 50, which is the first death associated with the virus since 2010. The first is in a male in his 60s who remains hospitalized.
West Nile virus infection can cause a mile or moderate flu-like illness, or sometimes no symptoms at all. Three additional cases are under investigation. Earlier this season, public health officials said mosquito pools in Wyoming and Petrolia tested positive for the virus, as did a bird found in Sarnia. Although the start of fall means mosquito populations will begin to die off, officials still urge individuals to control mosquito populations and prevent exposure to bites.
The chickens can also help determine if disease-carrying mosquitoes are present in the area.
"This death related to West Nile is tragic and reminds us to protect ourselves and our families from mosquitoes", said IDPH Medical Director, Dr. Patricia Quinlisk.
Symptoms of West Nile virus include headache, fever, neck discomfort, muscle and joint aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash, though up to 80 percent of people will experience no symptoms. Always read the repellent label and consult with a health care provider if you have questions when using these types of products for children.