Press Release

June 13, 2006


McLean and Kane Counties - newest Illinois Counties testing positive for West Nile virus

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced a crow collected by the McLean County Health Department, and mosquitoes collected by the Kane County Health Department, are the first positive test results for West Nile virus in these counties this year.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified by the McLean County Health Department of the findings as part of its routine surveillance for West Nile virus. The positive crow was collected on June 6 in Bloomington. The Kane County Health Department notified IDPH of the positive mosquitoes it collected on June 10 in Elgin and West Dundee and tested on June 12.

“West Nile virus activity in the state continues to grow,” said Dr. Whitaker. “So far this year we’ve seen positive test results for the virus in mosquitoes in northern and southern Illinois, and in two birds in central Illinois. This should serve as a reminder to people to take precautions against mosquito bites.”

So far this year, West Nile virus in mosquitoes have been found in Cook, DuPage, Jackson, Kane and Winnebago counties, and in birds in DeWitt and McLean counties.

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:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.

  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

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 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.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health Web site at or by calling the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.

idph online home
idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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