Despite the seasons of change, there is still the threat of West Nile Virus. Now, there are confirmed cases in the Rockford area.

The Boone County Health Department thru a press release said that a blue jay that was collected on September 4th has tested positive for West Nile Virus. It also says in the press release that they are taking a close look at four different mosquito pool areas. There are no current mosquito cases of West Nile, but they are carriers of the sometimes fatal disease.

Then the Ogle County Health Department thru a press release has reported its first case of West Nile Virus via a crow. It was reported in the town of Polo. It also says in the press release that a positive mosquito pool was also identified.

The good news is that there are no know reported human cases of West Nile Virus in Winnebago, Boone or Ogle counties.

"The recent hot and dry weather conditions has increased the rate of Culex mosquito production, mosquito flight activity and virus replication, thereby increasing the proportion of birds and mosquitoes infected with WNV and the risk of disease to humans. Humans contract WNV through the bite of an infected mosquito. The peak period for WNV transmission, particularly to humans, has been from mid-July through October."

So what do you need to do to protect yourself? Here are some tips from the Boone County Health Department:

"• Discard old tires, buckets, barrels or any water holding containers. Poke drain holes in tires used as bumpers at docks.

• Keep roof gutters and downspouts clear of debris.

• Keep trash containers covered.

• Empty plastic wading pools at least once a week and store indoors when not in use.

• Drain unused swimming pools.

• Fill in tree rot holes and hollow stumps that hold water.

• Change the water in bird baths and plant urns at least once a week.

• Store boats upside down or drain rainwater weekly."

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