ST. LOUIS (NEWS RELEASE) – This week the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported an adolescent female, living in St. Clair County, is the first to contact West Nile virus in Illinois.
Because of recent increased West Nile Virus activity in mosquitoes in southwestern Illinois, health officials recommend that citizens be conscientious in using insect repellent to stave off mosquitoes and wearing protective clothing during dawn and dusk, when the insects are most active.
Environmental and human surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms. People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay or other perching bird should contact the local Health Department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.
Last year, 50 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. For the 2014 season, IDPH reported 44 human cases (although human cases are underreported), including four deaths.
“We know West Nile virus is in our community said Environmental Health Director Jennifer Meyer. “We need to protect ourselves from this potential disease, and follow the simple steps of the “3 R’s.””