Help Greene County, IL Test for West Nile Virus

Have you ever heard of West Nile virus? In many cases, this mosquito-borne illness does not cause severe issues. However, in just about 1% of cases, West Nile virus can be serious and require hospitalization. The CDC has stated that counties within the United States with birds testing positive for West Nile virus prior to August 1st are 2x more likely to also have human cases of the virus after that date. 

Currently, shares River Bender, Illinois is working to stay ahead of the potential infections and protect public health. Greene County, IL – and its health department – are asking for the public to help them test for West Nile virus by submitting any dead birds they find. The Greene County Health Department will be accepting birds from May 15th through October 15th, 2022. To submit a bird for testing, it must meet the following criteria:

  • The bird must have died no later than 48 hours before submission.
  • No external causes of death (i.e. being shot, being attacked by an animal) are observed. 
  • The bird must have died on its own, not as part of a group. 
  • Altogether, the body of the bird must be in relatively good condition, with no decomposition present. 

If you find a dead bird that meets these criteria, please contact the Greene County Health Department at 217-942-6961, extension 102. Additionally, you may also call this number if you know of any places in which the mosquito population is out of control. 

What is West Nile Virus?

West Nile virus is primarily a mosquito-borne illness. However, this virus may also be spread through organ transplants, blood transfusions, laboratory exposure, or from mother to child during birth. In many cases (around 80%), those infected will not experience any symptoms. Around 1 in every 5 people develop mild symptoms such as:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Joint and body pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash

While fatigue and weakness may last for weeks, these individuals usually recover without any issue. Alternately, around 1 in every 150 people experience severe symptoms affecting the nervous system after the virus enters the brain. These symptoms include:

  • Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain)
  • Meningitis
  • High fever
  • Neck stiffness
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Vision loss
  • Muscle weakness and numbness
  • Tremors and/or convulsions
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

A serious infection typically requires hospitalization to recover.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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