The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday confirmed the first West Nile virus positive bird reported in Illinois for 2013 was collected in Monroe County.
The Monroe County Health Department collected a West Nile virus positive starling on June 27, in Waterloo.
“We are now starting to see West Nile virus in both mosquitoes and birds, which means it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing West Nile virus in people,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Remember to protect yourself by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of any standing water around your home.”
No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported so far this year.
West Nile virus positive mosquitoes have been reported in Madison, Perry and St. Clair counties, along with several other counties across the state.
Last year, 55 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird or human case. For 2012, the IDPH reported the second highest number of West Nile virus human cases in state history with 290 residents and 12 deaths.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois includes lab tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with disease symptoms. People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.
Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.
For more information, call the Monroe County Health Department at 939-3871.