|June 14, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
CLARK COUNTY BLUE JAY POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
SPRINGFIELD, IL A dead blue jay collected in Clark County has tested positive for West Nile virus, the Illinois Department of Public Health today announced.
The blue jay was found June 11 in Marshall in Clark County and determined to be positive for the virus today by the Illinois Department of Agriculture Laboratory in Galesburg.
This is the eighth bird in Illinois to test positive for West Nile virus since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began on May 1. Other positives have been reported in Cook County (3), Edgar County (2) and Kane County (2). No human cases of West Nile encephalitis have ever been reported in Illinois.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said identification of these positive birds should serve as a reminder to Illinoisans that the virus is here and he recommended the following precautions to reduce the risk of mosquito bites:
Due to heavy rains and flooding this spring in Illinois, questions have been raised about an increased risk this year for mosquito-borne diseases. The mosquitoes that may breed as a result of flooding are commonly called floodwater or temporary pool mosquitoes and are not usually disease carriers. The Culex or house mosquito, which can carry West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis, breeds in warm, stagnant water and will begin to increase in numbers early in the summer.
Since 1999, when West Nile virus was first discovered in the United States in New York, the virus has been detected in 28 states as far west as Iowa and Missouri. This year, West Nile virus activity has been identified in Florida, Louisiana, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia, as well as Illinois.
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.
West Nile virus 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 tested positive for the virus in 2001.
In the past three years, there have been 149 cases of West Nile encephalitis in the United States, mostly in the New York area, including 18 deaths.
2002 West Nile virus surveillance information can be found on the Department's Web site at <www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnvsurveillance_data_02.htm>.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Questions or Comments