Watch CBS News

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Chicago, some suburbs

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Chicago, suburbs
Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus in Chicago, suburbs 00:19

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mosquitoes found in the city of Chicago, Highland Park, and Skokie have tested positive for the West Nile virus this summer.

In Chicago, West Nile-positive mosquitoes have been identified in three Chicago community areas, all of them on the South Side. Those community areas are Greater Grand Crossing, Roseland, and West Pullman.

The Illinois Department of Public Health previously confirmed the first mosquitoes had tested positive for the virus in Illinois for the year on May 17. No human cases of the virus have surfaced yet this year in Illinois.

Lake and Cook County health officials have issued reminders for everyone to protect themselves.

Experts say mosquitoes only live 7 to 14 days, but the females spend about four days of their lives searching for blood. Each female mosquito will fertilize between 150 and 300 eggs.

"Mosquitoes are a common nuisance around Chicago during the summer months, and can sometimes carry serious illnesses," Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Olusimbo "Simbo" Ige said in a news release. "The best way to protect yourself from mosquito-borne diseases is to avoid mosquito bites and take measures to stop them from breeding around your home."

It is advised to drain any standing water around homes that might be left in flowerpots, gutters, pet water dishes, or birdbaths. Between dusk and dawn, it is best to wear loose-fitting, light-colored clothing including long pants, socks, and shoes.

An insect repellant containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus should also be used.

The overwhelming number of West Nile cases are mild, and don't require going to the hospital. In most instances, mild cases of West Nile can cause stomach pain, diarrhea, fever, headaches, swollen glands and sore throats. In addition to older adults, children are also at high risk.

New York City was the first place in the U.S. affected by a West Nile outbreak in 1999.

The worst West Nile outbreak in the U.S. to date came in 2002. That year in Illinois alone, there were 884 cases across the state, and 67 deaths – 42 of them in Cook County.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.