Dead bird tests positive for West Nile Virus in Saline County

mosquito (Source: Pexels/Jimmy Chan)
mosquito (Source: Pexels/Jimmy Chan)

HARRISBURG, Ill. (KBSI) – Egyptian Health Department has identified the first West Nile virus positive bird in southeastern Illinois in 2023.

The bird was collected on August 10 Harrisburg. The dead bird was reported by a resident.

Surveillance for West Nile virus began in May and includes trapping and testing adult mosquitoes throughout Saline, White, and Gallatin counites, along with the collection of reported dead birds.

There have been zero reported human West Nile virus cases in Saline, Gallatin or White counties.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an
infected bird, according to the Egyptian Health Department. The mosquitoes breed in warm, stagnant water and begin to increase in numbers early in the summer.

People infected with the virus may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Symptoms of West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches. However, serious illness and death
are possible. People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of serious illness.

The Illinois Department of Health encourages the public to Fight the Bite and take steps to prevent WNV by 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 bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.
  • REPEL – when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt,
    and apply an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon
    eucalyptus, or IR 3535 according to label instructions. The CDC does not recommend use of
    products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children under 3 years old.
    Consult a physician before using repellents on children under 3.
  • 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. The local
    health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any
    mosquito larvae.

Tap here to see additional information about West Nile virus from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Contact the Egyptian Health Department with questions, to report potential mosquito breeding sites, or if you observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin, or other perching bird. Main office: 618-273-3326

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