Morgan County bird positive for
West Nile virus
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[AUG. 2, 2005]
-- A dead blue jay found in Morgan County has tested positive for
West Nile virus. Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director,
made the announcement Monday.
The blue jay was found July 25 in Jacksonville, and on Monday the
Morgan County Health Department determined that the bird was
positive for the virus.
A total of two humans, 43 birds and 335
mosquito samples from 25 counties have tested positive since
surveillance for the mosquito-borne disease began on May 1.
The first two human cases of West Nile virus were reported July
29. They were a 55-year-old man from Kane County with West Nile
encephalitis and a 55-year-old man from suburban Cook County with
West Nile disease.
In 2004, Illinois recorded 60 human cases of West Nile disease,
including four deaths, and in 2003, there were 54 human cases,
including one death. The state led the nation in 2002 with 884 human
cases of West Nile disease and 67 deaths.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito
that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most
people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some
may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected
Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected
mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile disease
is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but
serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are
possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk
of severe disease.
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Whitaker said individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile
illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these
Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active,
especially between dusk and dawn.
When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a
long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes
DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label
instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on
Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.
Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try
to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support
mosquito breeding, including water in birdbaths, ponds,
flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
In communities where there are organized mosquito control
programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of
stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar
locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at
www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. People can also call
(866) 369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for
Department of Public Health news release]