"Although fall is only a couple weeks away, people need to stay
vigilant and protect themselves against West Nile virus," said
Arnold. "These birds testing positive for West Nile virus serve as a
reminder that mosquitoes are still active and you should take
precautions such as wearing insect repellent and getting rid of any
standing water around your home."
The Sangamon County Health
Department notified the Illinois Department of Public Health of the
positive sparrow collected on Aug. 25 in Illiopolis, and Peoria
County reported a positive blue jay collected in Peoria on Aug. 29.
To date, 18 counties have reported a bird, mosquito, horse or
human case testing positive for West Nile virus. There are currently
five human cases for this year in Illinois. Last year, 46 of the
state's 102 counties were found to have positive cases. A total of
101 human cases of West Nile disease, including four deaths, were
reported last year in Illinois.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began on May 1 and
includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays,
robins and other perching birds as well as the testing of sick
horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who
observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird
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 15 days after the bite of an infected
Only about two people in 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
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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 to take personal precautions to
avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
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, oil of
lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions.
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.
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 is available at
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]