First West Nile case reported in Champaign County for 2014

By Daily Illini Staff Report

The first case of West Nile virus was reported in Champaign County after a mosquito sample pool and a dead bird tested positive for the virus.

The infected bird was found on Aug. 8, and the mosquito pool on Aug. 19, said Jeff Blackford, Champaign-Urbana Public Health District program coordinator. An additional mosquito pool was found in Urbana on Aug. 21.

“If it is found in one part of town, it can be generally assumed that the virus could be found in the large area surrounding the bird or mosquito,” Blackford said.

The virus has been found in the area every year since 2002, he said, and it’s dependent on the weather.

“Up until now, we’ve had a pretty cool and wet summer, which has delayed the virus amplification that we normally see in July,” Blackford said. “We’ve recently had warm weather in which we’ve seen some positive birds and mosquitoes.”

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There are various ways to help limit your exposure to West Nile virus, according to a press release from the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District. Measures include:

  • Draining standing water
  • Mosquito-proofing home
  • Use insect repellent
  • Wear long sleeves and pants, weather permitting Try and limit outdoor activity
  • Try and limit outdoor activity

Additionally, extra care should be taken during the peak mosquito hours from dusk to dawn.

West Nile virus is most commonly transmitted to humans by mosquitoes, according to the release. On average, one in five people who are infected will develop a fever along with other symptoms such as: headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people who contact the virus recover completely, however, fatigue and weakness can last for weeks, if not months, according to the press release.

Less than 1% of those who are infected will develop a serious neurological illness such as meningitis, according to the release.

The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District created a chart that tracks the West Nile virus in Champaign County.