The Winnebago and Jo Daviess County health departments are getting some help in the war against West Nile virus.
Illinois' health department has granted the counties, along with 17 others, a two-year grant of more than $400,000.
The money will be used for surveillance and control of West Nile and other mosquito-borne diseases.
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West Nile in Illinois
- In Illinois, West Nile virus was first identified in September 2001 when laboratory tests confirmed its presence in two dead crows found in the Chicago metropolitan area.
- Since then, more than 100 birds, mosquitoes and horses in seven counties -- six in the Chicago area and Crawford County in central Illinois -- have tested positive for the virus.
- The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has had a sophisticated disease surveillance system in place since 2000 to monitor animals and insects that can potentially carry the virus: wild birds; dead crows, blue jays and raptors; and mosquitoes.
- Over the past two years, the virus, which can be transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito, has quickly spread throughout the northeastern states and to states south and west of New York.
- In 2001, West Nile virus was also identified in other Midwestern states, including Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri and Wisconsin.
States With Birds Testing Positive in 2002:
- District of Columbia
- New York
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
Source: http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm (Illinois Department of Health Web site), and http://westnilevirus.nbii.gov/ (National Biological Information Infrastructure Web site) contributed to this report.