West Nile discovered in 18 Illinois counties - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

West Nile discovered in 18 Illinois counties

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It's a disease that you may have picked up and never knew that you had.

“We have detected so far three batches of mosquito's that have West Nile," said Jackson County Environmental Health Director Bart Hagston. "It's those really warm temperatures in July, August, and September that really amplify the activity of the virus."

Southern Illinois Healthcare Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Erica Kaufman says the symptoms start out small.

"Fevers and headaches are the first thing that people complain about."

Overtime they can develop into something much more serious.

"The thing that is specific to West Nile that we worry about is the severe inflammation of the brain that in some rare cases can be fatal," said Dr. Kaufman.

Treatment options are smaller than the bugs that spread the disease.

"The most difficult thing in treating West Nile is that we don't have a treatment," said Dr. Kaufman.

Spraying down with a bug spray consisting of DDT may be your best option when fighting West Nile. Health Department officials say you need to wear long clothing and even stay indoors during the dawn an dusk hours to stay 100% protected.

Since birds are often hosts for West Nile Virus call your local health department to report sick or dying crows, blue jays, robins or other perching so that they can be tested for the disease.

There were 117 cases and 11 deaths in Illinois in 2013.

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