SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Department of Public Health confirms that the first West Nile positive bird in Illinois for 2013 has been found in Waterloo, Illinois.
The IDPH says the Monroe County Health Department collected the West Nile positive starling on June 27.
Last week, the Peoria County Health Department detected a batch of West Nile positive mosquitoes.
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.
“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.”
To date, West Nile positive birds and mosquitoes have been reported in 17 counties including Bureau, Peoria, Putnam and Sangamon counties.
No human cases have been reported so far this year.
2012 saw the second highest number of human cases of West Nile virus in state history with 290 cases and 12 deaths.
IDPH officials say the best way to prevent West Nile is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites by practicing the three "R's".
- 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 flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. Change water in bird baths weekly.
- 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.
- 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.