June 23, 2005
CROW POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced that a mosquito sample from Champaign County and a dead crow from Lee County have tested positive for West Nile virus.
The mosquito sample was collected June 15 in Champaign by the Champaign-Urbana Encephalitis Prevention Program and the crow was collected June 17 in Dixon.
Three birds and 18 mosquito samples have tested positive for West Nile virus since May 1 when state and local health departments began surveillance for the mosquito-borne disease. No human cases have been reported.
Besides the Champaign County mosquito sample, other positive mosquito samples have been collected in Cook (7), DuPage (5), Johnson (1), Kane (1), McDonough (1), St. Clair (1) and Will counties (1). In addition to the Lee County crow, birds positive for West Nile virus have been collected in McLean and Woodford counties.
In 2004, 62 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 60 human cases of West Nile disease, including four fatalities, were reported last year in Illinois.
Surveillance for West Nile virus includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows and blue jays, and the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow or blue jay should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird is to be picked up for testing.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile disease is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age are at the highest risk of severe disease, but persons of all ages can be affected by West Nile disease.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or people can call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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