MORRIS –The Grundy County Health Department recently collected a bird in the Goose Lake Township area that tested positive for West Nile virus. The bird, a common crow, was collected Sept. 18. This is the first bird to test positive for the virus in Grundy County this year.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Grundy County includes laboratory tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds. People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should call 815-941‐3115 to notify the Grundy County Health Department Environmental Health Division, which will determine if the bird will be collected for testing.
West Nile virus is not spread by person‐to‐person contact or directly from birds to people; humans become infected through the bite of an infected mosquito.
To minimize your risks, follow the Illinois Department of Public Health’s recommended practices: reduce, repel and report.
Reduce exposure by avoiding the outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Make sure doors and windows have tight‐fitting screens, and repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
Repel mosquitoes when outdoors by wearing shoes and socks, long pants and a long‐sleeved shirt. The IDPH recommends that you apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. The IDPH encourages you to consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
Finally, report or eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.
“Mild cases of West Nile infections may cause a slight fever or headache," according to the IDPH website. "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.” These symptoms typically will appear between and three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito, and those 50 and older are "at the highest risk for serious illness" from West Nile virus, according to the IDPH website.
For information about West Nile virus, call the Grundy County Health Department at 815‐941‐3115 or visit dph.illinois.gov/topics‐services/environmental‐health‐protection/vector‐controlsurveillance.