June 6, 2006
Jackson County mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced a mosquito sample collected in Jackson County has been confirmed as the first positive West Nile virus test results this year for Jackson County.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified by Jackson County of the findings as part of its routine surveillance for West Nile virus. The positive mosquito sample was collected today, June 6th in northern rural Jackson County.
“The finding is not surprising,” Dr. Whitaker said. “ West Nile virus activity has been present in the state for the past several years and we expected to see activity again this year. These findings should serve as a reminder to citizens to take precautions to prevent contracting this mosquito-borne disease.”
Last year, 57 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 252 human cases of West Nile disease, including twelve deaths, were reported last year in Illinois.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began May 1st and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays and robins, and the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay or robin 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. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported until July or later.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile 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 a highest risk of severe 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:
Public health officials believe that a hot summer could increase mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or by calling the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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