STERLING, Illinois -- Batches of mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile virus in Sterling, according to the Whiteside County Health Department.
The batches were pulled from the west side of Sterling in mid-September 2019, according to the statement. Jeff Deets, who is the department's environmental health director, said the reason these mosquitoes are testing positive so late in the season is likely due to the wetter and cooler spring the area had.
"It should serve as a reminder that West Nile virus related disease is still a threat and will remain so until the first hard frost” Deets said.
According to the department's statement about the positive test, the public should take precautions to reduce their exposure to mosquitoes.
Remember the three 'R's: Reduce, Repel, and Report.
Reduce: The health department advises limiting your exposure to mosquitoes by avoiding the outdoors between dusk and dawn when they are most active. Ensure the screens around your home's doors and windows are snug and free of tears or other openings. Eliminate sources of standing water, which is where mosquitoes breed. This would be flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, clogged rain gutters, old boats, etc. If you have a birdbath, be sure to change the water weekly.
Repel: Cover exposed skin with clothing like long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks. The health department advises using insect repellent that has DEET insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Ask your doctor before using on infants.
Report: If you see any dead birds report it to your local health department. Also report areas where you see standing water in roadside ditches, flooded yards or other places where mosquitoes may breed.