|April 1, 2002
GRANTS AWARDED FOR WEST NILE VIRUS READINESS
SPRINGFIELD, IL The Illinois Department of Public Health has awarded $264,059 to 20 local health departments to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
"Although no human cases of the disease have been identified in Illinois, it is incumbent upon the state and local health departments to be prepared for this potential threat," Dr. Lumpkin said. "These funds will allow local health department officials to have comprehensive West Nile virus preparedness plans ready in the event the disease is identified in their area."
Grants were awarded to local health departments in northeastern Illinois and in downstate counties with areas having populations of at least 30,000.
Nineteen local health departments will use the money to draft written plans to respond to the possibility of a West Nile virus outbreak. The plans will include details on distributing information to the public, on coordinating dead bird surveillance and abatement efforts, as well as a list of appropriate contacts at municipalities and mosquito control agencies.
The Chicago Department of Public Health will use its grant for a pilot project to map and treat mosquito production sites in areas of the city that do not have mosquito control programs.
In Illinois, West Nile virus was first detected in dead birds last summer in the Chicago metropolitan area, but no human cases were reported.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. The virus is not spread by person-to-person contact or directly from birds to people.
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, muscle weakness, high fever, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.
Grants were awarded to the following local health departments:
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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