Mosquitoes in Belleville, O’Fallon and Mascoutah have tested positive for West Nile virus, according to the St. Clair County Health Department.
Environmental Department Manager Brian Eckert said while the three cities have tested positive, it doesn’t mean the virus, which is spread by mosquitoes, is contained to just those places.
“We know it’s everywhere in St. Clair County,” Eckert said. “People should just be aware that it’s everywhere.”
Mascoutah came back positive for West Nile virus Wednesday, while Belleville and O’Fallon’s positive tests came back several weeks ago. Specific dates for the Belleville and O’Fallon results were not immediately available.
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Eckert said the health department has seven testing points set up around the county, and they are checked regularly. He reminded people to wear layers of bug spray, eliminate standing pools of water and use caution when outdoors.
Most people who are infected with West Nile virus show no signs or will experience only mild illness, like a fever or a headache, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Symptoms usually start to show between three and 15 days following the bite of an infected mosquito. Less than 1 percent of people infected with the virus will develop severe illness.
According to the Illinois Department of Health statistics, 26 counties in Illinois have tested positive for the virus this year, but there have been no human cases yet.