|May 9, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
KANE COUNTY BIRD POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
SPRINGFIELD, IL A dead crow collected in northwestern Kane County has been confirmed as the first bird in the Midwest to test positive this year for West Nile virus, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
"Based on the Department's experience with the virus last year, finding a positive bird this spring was not unexpected," said Dr. Lumpkin. "As we have emphasized in the past, positive birds are an important indicator that alerts people, particularly those living in areas where the virus is identified, to take precautions against mosquito bites."
The crow was found May 2 in the Hampshire area by a citizen who submitted it to the local health department for testing. Preliminary testing by the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory in Galesburg was positive for WNV on May 7 and the results were confirmed today by Illinois Department of Public Health laboratories in Springfield and Chicago.
West Nile virus (WNV) was first confirmed in Illinois in September 2001 when two dead crows from the Chicago metropolitan area tested positive for the virus. A total of 138 birds from seven Illinois counties (Cook, Crawford, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will) tested positive for the virus last year. In addition, two horses one from Cook County and one from Kane County tested positive for WNV in 2001. There were no human cases of WNV in Illinois residents in 2001 and none have been reported this year.
Illinois' surveillance for West Nile virus this year began May 1 and includes collecting dead crows and blue jays. Citizens who observe sick or dying crows and blue jays should contact their local health department or regional Illinois Department of Natural Resources office.
The West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. 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 can be mild, such as a fever and headache. In some individuals, however, particularly the elderly, West Nile virus can cause serious disease that includes muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.
To reduce the risk of being bitten by mosquitoes, especially in areas where viral encephalitis activity has been identified, Dr. Lumpkin recommends a number of precautions:
Horse owners also should take precautions to minimize exposure of their animals to mosquitoes. A vaccine to protect horses from WNV became available last year. While susceptible to the virus, horses are not known to transmit the disease to other horses or to humans.
Since 1999, WNV has been detected in 28 states and this year has been identified in Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as Illinois.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department's Web site at <www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm>.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments