BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Surveillance efforts for West Nile Virus are now underway in McLean County.
The McLean County Health Department will monitor virus activity in birds and mosquitoes throughout the 2013 mosquito season which runs from May to October.
The health department will begin collecting and testing dead birds this month. Also beginning later this month, the health department will test mosquitoes for West Nile Virus and continue throughout the summer to help assess the level of immediate risk to humans.
McLean County residents who find a dead bird on their property should:
1. Contact the Environmental Health Division at (309) 888-5482. The department will only collect and test a limited number of birds. Birds eligible for testing must be dead for no longer than 24 hours and have no obvious signs of trauma. Those submitting bird specimens will receive further instructions at the time of the call.
2. To dispose of a dead bird that the health department cannot accept, adults should use gloves or tongs to place the dead bird inside two plastic bags. Residents living within municipal limits should place the bird in the trash. Rural residents who decide to bury the bird should assure that the location is safely away from water sources. Never handle a dead bird with bare hands, and always wash hands with soap and warm water after disposal.
Last year was the most active West Nile Virus season McLean County experienced in recent years. McLean County had five reports of WNV-positive birds, four in Bloomington and one in Normal, and one positive human case.