West Nile virus detected in Logan County

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[October 11, 2012]  The Logan County Department of Public Health submitted a dead owl to the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory on Oct. 4 and the bird tested positive for West Nile virus. The owl was collected in Atlanta. Logan County is the 52nd county in Illinois to report West Nile virus activity this year.

To date in Illinois this year, 179 human cases of West Nile virus have been reported, of which 143 are from Cook and DuPage counties. In addition, six deaths have been reported.

This is a reminder that even though it is autumn, mosquitoes can remain active when temperatures are above 60 degrees F, and activity will usually persist until the first hard frost.

Because of the existing threat, the Logan County Department of Public Health would like to remind everyone that the best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and use personal protection.

The health department urges you to practice the three "R's" -- reduce, repel and report.

  • Do reduce your exposure by avoiding being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, from dusk to dawn. Repair screens with tears or any other outer openings. Keep windows shut, and eliminate areas of standing water around your property where mosquitoes can breed.

  • Do repel mosquitoes from biting when outdoors by wearing shoes, socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt (light-colored clothing preferred). Wear repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, and use according to the label instructions.

  • Do report dead birds to the Logan County Department of Public Health. If the bird has been dead less than 24 hours and appears to have died of natural causes, it may be eligible for testing. In addition, contact the health department or your local municipality to report any stagnant water in roadside ditches, abandoned pools, flooded yards or similar locations that may provide breeding sites for mosquitoes.

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The health department appreciates the assistance the public has provided during the 2012 season to help monitor West Nile virus activity through the reporting of dead birds. The monitoring season is coming to a close and the state laboratory will not accept bird specimens after Oct. 15.

Remember to play it safe and continue to take preventive measures until mosquito activity fully ceases.

If you have questions regarding West Nile virus, you can contact the Logan County Department of Public Health at 217-735-2317.

[Text from file received from the Logan County Department of Public Health]


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