First 2016 Human Case of West Nile Virus in Illinois

240 S. Main Street    ·   Post Office Box 198   ·   Monmouth, Illinois 61462

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Press Release

Date: June 7, 2016

Contact: Jenna Link     309-734-1314

First 2016 Human Case of West Nile Virus in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus reported in west-central Illinois for 2016.  The individual is a Warren County resident, but reported enjoying outdoor activities in Knox, Warren and Henderson Counties so the exact location of infection could not be determined.  Regardless, it is important to remember that there has been a history of West Nile virus positive mosquitoes in this area each year and precautions to avoid mosquito bites should always be taken.  

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.  Four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

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 practicing the three "R’s" – reduce, repel, and report.

REDUCE exposure – avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

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 where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.

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 IR3535 according to label instructions.  Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

REPORT– 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.

Surveillance for West Nile virus 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-like.  If you observe a sick or dying bird, contact the Warren County Health Department at 309-734-1314. They will then determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth.wnv.htm or www.warrencohealth.com or by contacting the Warren County Health Department.