Tag Archives: health department

West Nile-positive mosquito sample was taken in city of Jacksonville

Morgan County Health Department Sanitarian Cameron Morford has officially ran his first positive test for West Nile Virus in mosquitoes here in Morgan County, and it was in Jacksonville.

Morford has been with the Morgan County Health Department for the last three years, and he has told WLDS News previously that he had not gotten a positive result yet in his time with the MCHD from any mosquito samples.

Dale Bainter is the Public and Environmental Health Director with the Morgan County Health Department. Bainter explains the two-part process of the mosquito pool trap testing.

“We currently run a two-part West Nile program.

“The first part of that is surveillance. We run multiple traps throughout the county, and we test mosquito pool samples daily depending on the number of mosquitoes collected from the night before.

“The second step is prevention. We use larvicide, a product that prevents the maturation of mosquitoes throughout the county in an attempt to knock down the mosquito population and prevent the spread of West Nile Virus throughout the county.

“The positive sample we pooled came from Jacksonville, somewhat near the center of the city, at a spot we’ve been testing all summer.”

Bainter offers a few additional details as to how the samples are processed and tested.

“We can trap up to 50 mosquitoes at a time. I think the positive test pool had about 27 in it – that’s not an exact number. We then grind them up and test the specimen on-site for West Nile. There is a low limit and an upper limit based on the readings from the West Nile test, and the positive result was well within the limit to guarantee that West Nile had made its way to Morgan County.”

Common house mosquitoes, also known by the scientific nomenclature culex pipiens, are the main carriers of West Nile Virus and contract the virus from infected birds. However, though the mosquitoes tested positive Bainter says zero bird tests have come back positive.

“We have not had a bird sample test positive in 2018. The MCHD will now focus efforts on reducing the local population of mosquitoes. Once we receive a confirmed positive test in our surveillance efforts, there is no reason to continue the surveillance. We know that we have WNV-positive-testing mosquitoes.”

To learn more about mosquito prevention, you can head to our website wlds.com and search in the AM Conversation tab for our conversation with Sanitarian Cameron Morford, or you can also go to the Morgan County Health Department website at morganhd.com.

Morgan County Health Department beginning routine searches for West Nile Virus infections in deceased birds

People always think mosquitoes when West Nile Virus is mentioned, but where do the mosquitoes get it from? The answer to that question is birds. For this reason, health departments nationwide conduct regular studies of dead birds possibly infected by the West Nile Virus. However, birds cannot give the virus to humans.

Cameron Morford is the Sanitarian and Coordinator of Public Health Emergency Preparedness with the Morgan County Health Department. As a guest on this month’s edition of the County Health Department AM Conversation on WLDS, Morford discussed the prevalence of West Nile Virus in Illinois.

Morford says the annual testing season of suspicious deceased birds has already begun.

“We start our surveillance of dead birds the First of May and it runs all the way through October 15th, so with it being a little bit warmer lately, we’re actually getting in to the start of it.”

Morford and the MCHD want everyone to know what the possible symptoms of West Nile are.

“Your minor symptoms are going to be fever, headache, body ache, and rash… and that’s only going to be your twenty percent of people who even show symptoms, so it’s kind of minor, almost flu-like symptoms there. And then when we get into the more severe stuff, that will be stiff neck, sleepiness. You could actually go into a coma, have tremors, convulsions, and maybe even lead to paralysis or severe nervous system damage. So, it can be pretty serious.”

While talking with WLDS’ Gary Scott, Morford explains what should and should not be done when you see a deceased bird that may be infected with or a carrier of the West Nile Virus.

Morford: “What we’re really looking for is kind of a bird that doesn’t really have any obvious signs of death. It just kind of looks like it really didn’t get hit by a car, didn’t get shot, wasn’t eaten on, just kind of laying there and it looks a little suspicious, like it shouldn’t have died. That’s when we start thinking West Nile, perhaps. If you see one, and it’s not overly decayed, it looks like there’s no obvious signs of death, you’re going to want to report that to the health department. We’re on 345 West State there in Jacksonville. You can give us a call, or head in and meet with me and I’ll head out and we’ll send it in for testing to IDPH at the lab.”

Gary Scott: “Should we as the general public handle the bird?”

Morford: “You shouldn’t. As soon as you see it on the ground, just give me a call or head in and talk to me and I’ll handle it from there.”

Morford goes over the Illinois West Nile Virus Prevention Protocol, referred to as the three R’s.

“The Three R’s: Reduce, Repel, and Report. When you are outside, make sure you’re covered up: long sleeves, long pants, taking care of your children, putting repellent on. The repellent’s you’re going to be using are deet, picaridin, IR3535, or eucalyptus oil. You can also treat your clothes with permethrin. DON’T EVER PUT THAT [permethrin] ON YOUR SKIN, though, like a regular repellent. You’re going to want to treat your clothes [with permethrin] before hand.

Some things you can do around your house or yard to mosquito-proof:

  • Make sure any screens you have on windows or doors are in good repair.
  • If you’ve got any trash cans, buckets, flower pots, tires, or anything in your backyard make sure those aren’t filling up with water.

Your culex pipiens, the breed of mosquitoes that are actually going to have the highest possibility of carrying West Nile – they like the stagnant, standing-still water to lay their eggs in.”

Since 2013, nearly 500 confirmed human cases of West Nile Virus were reported in Illinois. Eighty percent of people that contract West Nile Virus will not be effected enough to ever show any symptoms. No one has died from West Nile Virus in Illinois since 2004.