On May 16, Chicago Department of Public Health employees collected a
crow that tested positive for West Nile virus. On May 17, IDPH and
DuPage County Health Department environmental health staff collected
positive mosquito samples from Lemont and Norridge in Cook County
and from Clarendon Hills, Hinsdale, Lisle, Westmont and Woodridge in
"Although it is a little earlier in the season than
we normally find West Nile virus-positive mosquito pools and birds,
it is not unheard of," said Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck, IDPH director.
"This is a good reminder, as we head into the Memorial Day weekend
and more people spend time outdoors, that it is important to protect
yourself and wear insect repellent."
The first West Nile virus-positive results in 2011 were from two
birds collected on June 8 in 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.
No people have tested positive for West Nile virus so far this
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.
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 can occur, including
meningitis or encephalitis, or even death. 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.
Precautions include practicing the three "R's" -- reduce, repel and
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exposure -- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most
active, especially between dusk and dawn.
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.
REPEL -- When
outdoors, 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, following label
instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on
REPORT -- 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.
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 is available on the
Illinois Department of Public Health's website at
Department of Public Health file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]