The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that they have just received their first positive test for West Nile Virus in a mosquito batch found in Henry County.

The Environmental Health Division of the Henry and Stark County Health Departments announce that they have just received their first positive test for West Nile Virus in a mosquito batch found in Henry County.

 Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.

 West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

 This is the first evidence of the virus in Henry County for this year. Dorothy David, Health Department Environmental Health Director notes, "The fact that West Nile Viral Encephalitis is now in Henry County is not a cause for alarm, as our advice to the public remains the same - to minimize exposure to mosquitoes, while seeking out and eliminating breeding sites."

 The Health Department advises that from now until the first frost is the time to take the following protective measures:

 1) Protect yourself and your children from the bite of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes bite most aggressively at dusk and dawn; therefore, cover exposed skin and use insect repellent if you must be out during these periods. Also, be sure all screen doors and windows are in good repair to protect yourself while sleeping.

 2) Plan your end of the Summer activities (example: last campouts) on cooler or windy weekends. Avoid calm, muggy, dusky or dawn periods.

 3) Mosquitoes are still breeding. Therefore, continue to remove any containers of standing water present on your property up until the first frost.

 For more information about West For Nile Virus surveillance, contact the Health Department Environmental Health Division at (309) 852-7266 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com, find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments, or Follow Us on Twitter.