August 1, 2005
MORGAN COUNTY BIRD POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A dead blue jay found in Morgan County has tested positive for West Nile virus, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced.
The blue jay was found July 25 in Jacksonville and determined to be positive for the virus today by the Morgan County Health Department.
A total of two humans, 43 birds and 335 mosquito samples from 25 counties have tested positive since surveillance for the mosquito-borne disease began on May 1.
The first two human cases of West Nile virus were reported July 29. They include a 55-year-old man from Kane County with West Nile encephalitis and a 55-year-old man from suburban Cook County with West Nile disease.
In 2004, Illinois recorded 60 human cases, of West Nile disease, including four deaths, and in 2003, there were 54 human cases, including one death. The state led the nation in 2002 with 884 human cases of West Nile disease and 67 deaths.
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 have the highest risk of severe disease.
Dr. Whitaker said individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:
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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