Dead bird found in Carlyle tests positive for West Nile Virus

CLINTON COUNTY — The Clinton County Health Department has been notified that a dead bird, collected in rural Carlyle IL, submitted to the state laboratory on October 6, 2016 has tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

(Credit:  Ivanov Arkady)
(Credit: Ivanov Arkady)

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) maintains a sophisticated disease surveillance system to monitor animals and insects that can potentially carry the virus: dead crows, robins, blue jays, mosquitoes and horses.

Mosquitoes can either carry the virus or get it by feeding on infected birds. The surveillance system also includes infectious disease physicians, hospital laboratory directors and infection control practitioners, local health departments and staff from IDPH’s laboratory, environmental health and infectious diseases divisions who test for and report suspect or confirmed cases of various diseases that can be caused by mosquito-borne viruses.

Mild cases of West Nile infections may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.

Usually symptoms occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.

The best way to prevent West Nile encephalitis and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.