Bird found with West Nile virus in Tazewell County

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TAZEWELL COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The Tazewell County Health Department (TCHD) reported the first West Nile virus in a bird for 2021, which was found in Morton in mid-September.

TCHD Environmental Health Director Melissa Goetze said in a press release, “West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people. It is important to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites, like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home. It is important to remember that no matter what season it is, there is an ongoing risk of disease from a mosquito bite after it feeds on an infected bird.”

The virus is transmitted through the bite of a house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches

Symptoms may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, however, four out of five people infected with the virus will not show any symptoms.

“In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus,” the press release stated.

In the press release sent out by the TCHD, officials said to protect yourself, practice 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 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.
  • 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.

Additional information about West Nile virus in Tazewell County can be found here.

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