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First West Nile Reports of 2014

Updated:
Mosquitos and birds - harmless species that get special attention in the summer months thanks to West Nile Virus.

Just this week was the summer's first confirmed cases of West Nile. Outbreaks are known to be worse during hot, dry summers. So far this season is seeing an average number of cases, but it's still early.

In these early reports, both a dead bird in Henry County and a mosquito sampling in Madison County turned up the virus. No human cases have been reported, but the Health Department expects the virus to pop up in one form or another throughout the state by the end of summer.

That means everybody should be on the lookout for the risks.

Illinois Department of Public Health spokesperson Melaney Arnold said "The best thing people can do is make sure to get rid of any standing water around their home. For example if there's old tires or flower pots, they need to make sure to empty those out, and to wear insect repellent when you go outside."

In 2013, 117 human cases of West Nile Virus were reported in Illinois. 11 of those were fatal. That year was slightly cooler and drier than normal.

Usually, human cases don't arise until July or August. So far this year, no indication of whether conditions will be good or bad for West Nile. To identify those trends early though, the health department asks that residents report any dead birds in their area so they can be brought in for testing. First West Nile Reports of 2014


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