September 17, 2001
WEST NILE UPDATE
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health today reported that 13 more dead crows discovered in the Chicago area have preliminarily tested positive for the West Nile virus. A total of 38 birds have now either been confirmed (2) or identified as possible positives (36) since the virus was first detected in the state on Sept. 5.
No human cases of West Nile disease have been reported.
The 13 crows were identified as preliminarily positive by the Illinois Department of Agriculture lab in Galesburg. Samples from the birds have been sent to the U.S. Geological Survey lab in Madison, Wis., for confirmatory testing that is expected to take several weeks. The dead crows were collected between Sept. 6 and Sept. 10 in Cook and DuPage counties.
The birds were found in the following locations and the collection dates are in parentheses: two in Burbank, Cook County (Sept. 7 and 10); Chicago, Cook County (Sept. 9); Des Plaines, Cook County (Sept. 6); Flossmoor, Cook County (Sept. 7); Franklin Park, Cook County (Sept. 10); Lombard, DuPage County (Sept. 7); Mount Prospect, Cook County (Sept. 10); Palos Heights, Cook County (Sept. 7); Park Ridge, Cook County (Sept. 6); Rolling Meadows, Cook County (Sept. 6); Villa Park, DuPage County (Sept. 7); and Wheeling, Cook County (Sept. 10).
In addition to the birds, three pools of mosquitoes collected by the Northwest Mosquito Abatement District in northwest Cook County have been preliminarily identified with West Nile virus. Samples of the mosquitoes have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention laboratory in Colorado for confirmation.
(Editor's note: A complete recap of the positive birds and mosquitoes identified so far in Illinois are on the Department's Web site at < www.idph.state.il.us >. Go to the West Nile virus page and select "surveillance.")
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Surveillance for sick and dead wild birds appears to be the best way of detecting the virus' activity. Persons who observe sick or dying crows, blue jays or raptors (such as hawks) should contact their local health department or district Illinois Department of Natural Resources office.
While most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill, usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
When people do become ill, symptoms may be mild, such as a fever or headache. In some individuals, however, particularly the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, West Nile virus can cause serious disease that includes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), muscle weakness, high fever, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.
Dr. Lumpkin has said the following steps should be taken to reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes:
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Departments web site at http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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