The Lake County General Health District is warning residents about an increase in the number of , as in the rest of the country, due to dry weather conditions.
Fortunately, no people have been infected in Lake County this year, despite the uptick in infected mosquitoes
Nonetheless, LCGHD is offering tips about how people can stay safe from West Nile Virus, including:
- Dispose of tin cans, old tires, buckets, unused plastic swimming pools, plastic covers or other containers that collect and hold water.
- Keep roof gutters unclogged. Clean gutters in the spring and fall.
- Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas, and hot tubs. Keep them covered when empty.
- Empty and change the water in bird baths, fountains, wading pools, rain barrels and potted trays at least once a week, if not more often.
- Fill or drain puddles, ditches, and swampy areas and either remove, drain or fill tree holes and stumps with mortar.
- Contact LCGHD with concerns about malfunctioning septic systems.
- Eliminate standing water around animal watering troughs.
- Irrigate lawns and gardens carefully to prevent water from standing for several days.
- Avoid being outside from dusk until dawn. If you cannot avoid those times, use a repellent. Use an insect repellent containing 10 percent or fewer DEET for children and no more than 30 percent DEET for adults. Use repellents containing DEET according to label instructions.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks if you go outside when mosquitoes are most active, which is from dusk until dawn.
- Make sure window and door screens are “bug tight.” Repair or replace torn screens.
- Replace outdoor lights with yellow “bug lights.”
- Call the LCGHD if you have a concern about standing water that may be breeding mosquitoes. If it is on private property, permission is needed to enter the property.
The district also noted that the very young, very old and those with weakened immune systems are most at risk for infection.
Birds act as a host of West Nile Virus, and then mosquitoes become infected by feeding on them. But due to ODH budget cuts, dead birds are no longer being collected and tested for the virus.
Residents may report dead bird locations by calling LCGHD at 440-350-2543. These reports will be mapped to document potential virus activity.