August 3, 2006
Hancock, Vermilion and Whiteside Counties – newest counties testing positive for West Nile virus
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced birds collected in Hancock, Vermilion and Whiteside counties are the first positive test result for West Nile virus in these counties this year.
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified by the Hancock County Health Department of the finding as part of its routine surveillance for West Nile virus. The positive Blue Jay was collected on July 27 in LaHarpe. The Vermilion County Health Departments reported a positive Blue Jay was collected on July 20 in Catlin and the Whiteside County Health Department reported a positive Crow collected in Sterling on July 26.
So far this year, West Nile virus in mosquitoes have been found in Adams, Bond, Bureau, Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Ford, Jackson, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Putnam, Saline, Sangamon, Stephenson, St. Clair, Will and Winnebago counties. Positive samples in birds have been found in Champaign, Coles, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, DuPage, Effingham, Ford, Hancock, Henry, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Sangamon, Scott, Stephenson, Vermilion, Whiteside, Williamson and Winnebago counties.
To date, 38 counties out of 102 have reported positive test results for West Nile virus in mosquitoes and birds. The first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois this year was reported by the St. Clair County Health Department on August 1. The St. Clair County man, who is in his 60s, became ill in July and is recovering.
“Hot weather can increase the number of mosquitoes, therefore increasing the risk of West Nile virus to humans. People should make sure to take precautions when going outside, especially with the recent high temperatures,” said Dr. Whitaker. “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 to prevent mosquitoes include:
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 1 and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who observe a sick or dying perching bird 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.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website 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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