According to the Illinois Department of Public Health West Nile virus has been found in humans, birds, horses and/or mosquitoes in 51 counties within Illinois. Adams County is not one of the 51 counties listed.
The Adams County Health Department has not detected positive West Nile virus in any mosquitoes or birds tested in Adams County this year. The County Health Department is collecting a small number of birds throughout the county as part of its West Nile Virus surveillance program. If a dead bird is found and there is no obvious cause of death, contact the health department to see if the bird can be submitted for testing.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus 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 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and report.

REDUCE exposure
 Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
 Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
 Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.

REPEL
 When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.
 Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon Eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

REPORT
 If you find a dead bird with no obvious cause of death, contact the Adams County Health Department. The health department will determine if the bird is acceptable for testing and will pick up acceptable birds. For more information, contact Robin Shellabarger at the Adams County Health Department at 217-222-8440 extension 158.