1st West Nile activity in La Salle County confirmed in Somonauk

Robin collected by health department tests positive

A robin sits on a branch overlooking the Mississippi River along the access road to Lock & Dam 13 north of Fulton on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

The La Salle County Health Department received confirmation a robin from Somonauk tested positive for West Nile virus.

The bird was collected on May 15 and was tested by the University of Illinois Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. This is the first documented West Nile virus activity in La Salle County this year.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. Most people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms; however, in rare cases it can lead to severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Monitoring for West Nile virus includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays and robins, as well as testing humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms. People who see a sick or dying crow, blue jay, or robin should contact the health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

There are some simple precautions you can take to Fight the Bite. Precautions include practicing the three Rs – reduce, repel and report.


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. Eliminate, or refresh each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, pet bowls, clogged rain gutters, wading pools, old tires, and any other containers.


When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a light-colored, long-sleeved shirt, and apply an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, IR 3535, para-menthane-diol (PMD), or 2-undecanone according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.


Locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, old tires, stagnant pools, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.

A complete listing of West Nile virus statistics for La Salle County is available on the Health Department’s web site at www.lasallecountyil.gov under Environmental Health/Vector Control. A state-wide listing is available at the Illinois Department of Public Health’s web site at https://dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/west-nile-virus/surveillance

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