"The earlier submission of birds is an effort to help detect any
early West Nile virus activity prompted by the unusually warm
weather this winter and spring," said Dr. Arthur F. Kohrman, acting
director of the state health department.
Surveillance for West
Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests on mosquito
batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as
well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease
symptoms. People 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 will be picked up for testing.
In 2011, the first West Nile virus positive results were
collected on June 8 and included two birds from LaSalle County. Last
year 19 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive
mosquito batch, bird or human case. A total of 34 Illinois residents
contracted West Nile virus disease, and three died.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito
that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common
West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle
aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However,
four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show
any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness, including meningitis or
encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at
higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
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.
outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between
dusk and dawn.
wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and
apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of
lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions.
Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
[to top of second column]
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 where mosquitoes can breed, 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
Public health officials believe that a hot summer increases
mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the
Illinois Department of Public Health's website at
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]