West Nile shows up in bird in Champaign County

CHAMPAIGN — West Nile virus has arrived in Champaign County for the first time this year.

A dead bird collected last week outside the city limits of Champaign tested positive for the virus, according to the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

With more hot and dry weather lately, an increase in West Nile virus between the bird and Culex mosquito populations can be expected, said Jim Roberts, the health district’s environmental health director.

People should take these steps to avoid being infected now, he advises:

— Drain standing water around your home.

— Mosquito-proof your home.

— Apply insect repellent when you are outdoors.

— Wear protective clothing when weather permits and consider limiting outdoor activity, taking extra care during peak mosquito hours from dusk to dawn.

West Nile is transmitted through bites of infected mosquitoes.

One-fifth of the people infected with the virus will experience illness, health experts say. Symptoms typically include fever, headache and body ache, and are usually mild, but can become severe, especially in people over age 60.

So far, 25 Illinois counties have reported West Nile virus cases this year, with no human cases reported, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. Ford and Iroquois counties are not among them.


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