West Nile virus detected in Lake County mosquitoes

Mosquitoes in Lake County tested positive for West Nile virus earlier this month, health officials announced Friday.

A batch of mosquitoes in Highland Park tested positive for West Nile virus on June 12, marking the first confirmed case of the virus in Lake County this year.

"We expect mosquitoes every summer, but it's important to remember that they can also carry diseases like West Nile virus," said Mark Pfister, executive director of the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center. "We can take steps to ‘Fight the Bite' to protect ourselves and our families from a potentially deadly disease."

Last year, 173 out of 763 mosquito pools tested positive for West Nile and there was one human case, according to Lake County officials. There have been 80 confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in Lake County since 2002, including four deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most people who contract the virus will show no symptoms, though about 20 percent will experience fever, aching and nausea usually within 3-to-15 days after the bite. More rarely, severe cases can lead to paralysis and death.

Authorities urge people to drain water from outdoor containers; wear long-sleeved shirts and pants; stay indoors during the early evening and morning hours; and wear insect repellent that contains DEET.

Lake County residents can report areas of stagnant water — which can become potential mosquito breeding grounds — at (847) 377-8300.