SEPTEMBER 6, 2022
Bloomington, IL— McLean County Health Department’s (MCHD) Environmental Health Division is reporting the first dead bird sample collected in McLean County to test positive for West Nile Virus this year. The positive test was confirmed on August 31st from the 61705 zip code area west of Bloomington. MCHD staff immediately began distributing informational doorknob hangers about WNV and preventative measures in the neighborhood where the sample was collected.
West Nile Virus (WNV) most commonly occurs mid-summer to early fall. It is a mosquito-borne disease that can cause encephalitis - an inflammation of the brain. Infected mosquitoes pass the virus onto birds, other animals, and people. Anyone can get WNV, and 4 out of 5 people will experience no symptoms according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, people aged 50 and older are at greater 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.”
To “fight the bite” MCHD recommends residents follow the 3 Rs:
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 in a secure trash can in an area not accessible to children or pets.
In an August 30th press release, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reported Illinois’ first human WNV case and first WNV death of 2022, which occurred in Cook County.
For more information on mosquito control strategies visit: https://health.mcleancountyil.gov/593/Mosquito-Control-Strategies
For more information on WNV, including symptoms, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/westnile/symptoms/index.html
Please share this video link on your social media accounts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORYf4K35e9o
Learn more about safely disposing of dead birds: https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/influenza/bird-flu/dead-bird-disposal-5-or-more.html#:~:text=Before%20disposing%20of%20dead%20wild,at%201%2D866%2D487%2D