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Southern Seven Health Department Confirms West Nile Virus in Pope County

ULLIN – The Southern Seven Health Department has confirmed the first positive test for West Nile Virus for 2021 for the southern seven county region.

According to Southern Seven’s Facebook page, on June 23, Southern Seven’s Environmental Health staff collected the positive mosquitoes from a trap set in Golconda. On June 9, the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the first mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile Virus in the state from Skokie in Cook County. No human cases of West Nile Virus have been reported so far this year in Illinois.

Southern Seven began its annual trapping of mosquitoes to test for the virus in May by placing two traps in each of the southern seven counties it serves. Collection and testing of mosquitoes will continue in the region through September.

Shawnna Rhine, Southern Seven’s Community Outreach Coordinator, says you can be outside, just take precautions to not get bit.

Rhine says doing things like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water, including emptying kiddie pools each day, can do a lot to help keep mosquitoes from bothering you.

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of the common house mosquito that has picked up the virus while feeding on an infected bird. Southern Seven is asking people who see a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird to call their local public health office to determine if the bird needs to be tested.

For more information, call Southern Seven Health Department at 634-2297 or visit the IDPH website.