The Illinois Department of
Public Health was notified by the DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health
Department of the findings as part of routine surveillance for West
Nile virus. The positive crow was collected on May 31 in Farmer
"This crow is more evidence of West Nile virus activity in
the state," Whitaker said. "So far this year we've seen positive
test results for the virus in mosquitoes in northern and southern
Illinois, and now this bird in central Illinois. This should serve
as a reminder to people to take precautions against mosquito bites."
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other
mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around
your home and take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Precautions include the following:
outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between
dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are
wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and
apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of
lemon eucalyptus, following the instructions on the label.
Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
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.
sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding,
including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools,
old tires and any other receptacles.
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
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Last year, 57 of the state's 102 counties were found to have a
West Nile-positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of
252 human cases of West Nile disease, including 12 deaths, were
reported last year in Illinois.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began May 1 and
includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays and
robins, and the testing of sick horses and humans with symptoms like
West Nile disease. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue
jay or robin should contact their local health department, which
will determine if the bird is to be picked up for testing.
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
mosquito. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported
until July or later.
Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected
mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is
usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but
serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are
possible. People older than 50 years of age have a highest risk of
Additional information about West Nile virus is available at
(866) 369-9710 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and
Department of Public Health news release]