First West Nile Virus mosquitoes reported in southern Ill.

SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, today announced mosquitoes collected in St. Clair County are the first positive West Nile virus test results in southern Illinois this year, according to the department of health.

The St. Clair County Health Department collected the positive mosquito sample on June 2 in Shiloh.

The first positive mosquito batch this year was collected on June 10 in Tazewell County and the first West Nile virus positive birds were collected on June 8 in LaSalle County.

"These first West Nile virus positive mosquito samples and birds should remind us that we need to protect ourselves against mosquito bites, especially when we start to see warmer and drier conditions," said Dr. Arnold.  "I urge everyone to get rid of any stagnant water around their homes to reduce the number of mosquitoes, and to make sure you wear insect repellent to protect yourself."

In 2010, the first positive mosquito samples were collected on June 3 in Gallatin County.  Last year, 30 of the state's 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case.

A total of 61 human cases of West Nile disease were reported in Illinois last year, the first reported on August 31.  In hotter summers, such as 2005 and 2006, more human cases have been reported.

  • style="text-align: left;">2009- 5
  • style="text-align: left;">2008 – 20
  • style="text-align: left;">2007 – 101
  • style="text-align: left;">2006 – 215
  • style="text-align: left;">2005 – 252
  • style="text-align: left;">2004 – 60
  • style="text-align: left;">2003 - 54
  • style="text-align: left;">2002- 884

Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began on May 1 and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds as well as the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms.

Citizens 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.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has been infected with 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 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health's Website.

Copyright 2011 KFVS. All rights reserved.