Bird collected in McHenry tests positive for West Nile virus

MCDH says all other bird samples have been negative

A robin collected in unincorporated McHenry tested positive for the West Nile virus, the McHenry County Department of Health reported Friday.

This is the first bird to test positive for the West Nile virus in McHenry County this year, a sign that the virus is in the area this year, according to a news release. The discovery is not an unusual for this time of year.

"The risk of (West Nile virus) typically remains until the first hard frost," the news release said.

The West Nile virus typically results in a mild illness with symptoms that include fever, headache and body aches. Serious illnesses, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death, are also possible, in particular for those 60 years or older.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported five additional birds found to be positive with the virus, according to the release. Statewide, 111 mosquito batches have also tested positive.

No human cases have been reported in Illinois so far this year, according to the release.

Birds can become carriers of the virus through through the bite of an infected mosquito. They then pass the virus onto mosquitoes that feed on them.

A vaccine is not available for West Nile virus.

The McHenry County Health Department says the best way to prevent the virus is to reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites around the home and to take personal precautions.

More information about mosquitoes and the West Nile virus can be found at the Division of Environmental Health's website under Nuisance Control at www.mcdh.info or by calling 815-334-4585.