|April 3, 2007|
Gov. Blagojevich announces $2.5 million in grants to combat West Nile virus
87 local health departments receive grants to enhance West Nile virus prevention programs
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today $2.5 million in grants to local health departments for surveillance and control efforts of mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne diseases. In 2006, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received reports of 215 human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois and ten deaths due to West Nile virus related illness.
“Temperatures are beginning to warm up and that means we’ll soon start to see more mosquitoes. These funds will allow local health departments to take action now in order to help reduce the risk of West Nile virus related illnesses and deaths in Illinois,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, Illinois Department of Public Health Director.
Funding for the grants comes from a special 50-cent fee on new tires. The fee was put into place in 2003 to create a public health emergency fund to help pay for human, mosquito and bird surveillance for mosquito-borne disease.
Eighty-seven local health departments in areas of the state that documented West Nile virus activity last year, will receive West Nile virus prevention grants this year for surveillance, testing of birds and mosquitoes, training, mosquito larviciding and public information.
“Local health departments are receiving this funding before the mosquito season hits so they have time to make needed arrangements with local municipalities and mosquito control contractors,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker. “If we can take steps early to control the mosquito population in Illinois, we can reduce the risk of West Nile virus through the state.”
The primary responsibility for local health departments concerning West Nile virus is surveillance because it must be conducted statewide. Mosquito control is a secondary objective for local health departments and some assist municipal mosquito control programs. Historically, municipalities conduct mosquito control operations. In preparation for the upcoming season, local municipalities and mosquito abatement districts need to plan and budget for adequate mosquito control measures.
West Nile virus activity has occurred in Illinois throughout the summers of 2001 through 2006. During 2002, Illinois led the nation with more than 800 human cases and more than 60 deaths. After the cool summers of 2003 and 2004, West Nile virus activity in Illinois resurged during the hot summers of 2005 and 2006. How active West Nile virus is during 2007 may be dependent on summer temperatures. Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.
Grants were awarded to the following local health departments for April 1, 2007 through March 31, 2008:
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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