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Though it seems too late in the year to be concerned about mosquito-borne illnesses, the reality is that insects infected with the West Nile Virus were detected in St. Elmo within the past couple weeks.
That means it’s prudent to take precautions to prevent exposure to the disease.
West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus, usually by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches, though some people infected with the virus don’t show any symptoms. For those older than 50, the risks of experiencing more severe symptoms are greater.
Though no human cases of West Nile Virus have been identified in the area, it’s always a good idea to be proactive – to take measures to limit your exposure. The three steps recommended by health-care officials are: 1) Reduce your exposure to mosquitoes; 2) Repel the insects by wearing long-sleeved clothing and applying insect repellent; and 3) Report to public health officials dead birds and stagnant water that could serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
West Nile Virus is no longer an illness that is in some other area. It’s right here in Fayette County.
By taking a few common-sense measures, however, we can limit our exposure.