West Nile virus has been detected in Peoria County.
The Peoria City/County Health Department says a mosquito pool has tested positive for the virus for the first time in 2017 in the county, indicating that West Nile virus is circulating in the area and individuals should take precautions to protect their health.
West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that’s fed on an infected bird. The health department has been setting traps throughout Peoria County to watch for areas of breeding and then testing those mosquitoes for West Nile virus.
Peoria City/County Health Department is accepting and collecting dead birds with an emphasis on crows and blue jays to test for evidence of West Nile virus infection in the area.
The health department says individuals should not handle dead birds that may be infected with West Nile virus with their bare hands, but double wrap them in plastic garbage bags prior to collection or disposal.
If a dead bird is found between now and October 15 and it appears to have died from natural causes, it should be reported to the Peoria City/County Health Department at 309-679-6161.
“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,” said Wil Hayes, Director of Environmental Health for the Peoria City/County Health Department.
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