Bird tests positive for West Nile virus in Rochelle

The northern house mosquito (Culex pipiens) can transmit the West Nile virus from infected birds to humans.

OREGON – Health officials announced Thursday that a bird has tested positive in Rochelle for West Nile virus.

“Mosquitoes can transmit WNV to birds, mammals and humans,” the Ogle County Health Department said in a news release. “Mosquitoes with WNV should be assumed to be present throughout the county. Mosquitoes will be present through the fall, so it is important to take precautions to prevent WNV in humans.”

Monitoring for WNV in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches; dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds; as well as testing humans with WNV-like symptoms, according to the release. The type of bird found or the location where it was found was not made available. Calls to the health department were not returned as of Friday.

Ogle County Health Department logo

People who observe a sick or dying bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing, according to the release.

“West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of the Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird,” according to the release.

In humans, common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches, and could last for a few days or a few weeks.

“However, four out of five people infected with WNV will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur,” according to the release.

People older than 50 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for severe illness.

The health department listed these precautions individuals should take to avoid contracting the virus.

• Reduce – 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 bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other containers.

• Repel – Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors. Apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions when outdoors. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

• Report – Report locations to the health department when you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week, including roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations.

For more information about WNV, visit

Earleen Hinton

Earleen oversees production and content of 8 community weeklies and has worked for Shaw Newspapers since 1985.