PAXTON, Ill. (WCIA) — The Ford County Public Health Department announced on Thursday that a mosquito batch in the county has tested positive for West Nile Virus.

Officials said the batch was collected on Sept. 2 in Piper City and represents the first positive test result in the county. No human cases have been reported yet, but the FCPHD is urging people to be aware of West Nile Virus activity in their area and take steps to protect themselves and their family.

Those steps include

  • Making sure doors and windows are shut and have tight-fitting screens with no holes tears or openings.
  • Eliminating or refreshing all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed every week. These sources include birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and other water containers
  • Wearing shoes and socks, pants, long-sleeved shirts and insect repellent when outdoors.
  • Reporting locations where water sits stagnant for more than a week, including roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations.

West Nile Virus is spread through bites from infected mosquitoes. Approximately four out of five people who become infected will not display any symptoms; the remainder will develop symptoms including fever, head and body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash.

In rare cases, serious illness such as encephalitis or meningitis or even death can occur. People over the age of 50 and people who have certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants are at a greater risk for serious illness.

There are no medications to treat West Nile Virus or vaccines to prevent infection. People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, but symptoms may last for several weeks. Anyone who has symptoms should contact a healthcare provider.