MCLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD) — The McLean County Health Department’s (MCHD) Environmental Health Division has reported its first mosquito pool that has tested positive for the West Nile Virus Friday.

According to an MCHD press release, the positive test was confirmed Friday for the 61705 zip code area east of Bloomington.

West Nile is a mosquito-born disease that commonly occurs from mid-summer to early fall. Infected mosquitoes pass the virus onto birds, other animals, and people.

Four out of five people will experience no symptoms, but those aged 50 and older are at risk of severe illness.

“Regular mosquito and bird surveillance allows public health officials to track the presence of West Nile Virus in McLean County. When disease-carrying mosquitoes become more active, the risk of human exposure and infection also increases,” said Tom Anderson, Director of MCHD Environmental Health Division. “To avoid human cases of the virus, we recommend everyone in McLean County take measures to fight the bite.”

MCHD has distributed doorknob hangers in the area to warn residents and to encourage them to follow the three R’s.

  1. Reduce the mosquito population by removing areas of standing water around your yard or business where mosquitoes can breed, such as old tires or unused planting pots. Mosquitoes need stagnant water to breed. It can take less than a week for eggs to hatch to larvae and become biting adults.
  2. Repel mosquitoes by using insect repellent that includes DEET, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or picaridin; and wear clothing that covers your skin, especially at dusk and dawn (when mosquitoes are most active).
  3. Report dead birds that show no sign of injury.
    • McLean County residents who find dead birds around their property should contact MCHD to report them, so they can be tested for WNV. A cluster of 5 or more dead birds could be a sign of the presence of Avian Flu.
      • Report by calling (309) 888-5482 Mon-Fri 8:00-4:30.
    • If you need to dispose of dead birds on your property, assume that the birds are carrying disease, wear a facial mask, and avoid direct contact with skin. Double wrap the dead bird in plastic or paper before disposing of in a secure trash can in an area not accessible to children or pets.

As of September 8, 2022, the Illinois Department of Public Health has reported two human WNV cases, one of which resulted in the first death of 2022.