It has been confirmed that a bird collected from the Gilman area has tested positive for West Nile virus (WNV).
This is the first specimen to test positive for WNV this year in Iroquois County. The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 24 counties with positive WNV specimens and 1 human case during the 2021 season. The Iroquois County Public Health Department continues to monitor for the presence of WNV in mosquitos collected from the Gilman area.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of the Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called the
northern house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.
PRECAUTIONS TO FIGHT THE BITE INCLUDE PRACTICING THE THREE “R’S” –REDUCE, REPEL, AND REPORT.
- REDUCE – 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. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other artificial containers.
- REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a long-sleeved shirt, and
apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to
label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
- REPORT – report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside
ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows,
blue jays, robins, and other perching birds as well as testing humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.
People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing. Additional information about WNV can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at: http://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus.