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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 30, 2002

Ryan Announces Emergency Mosquito Control Funds

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced three counties have been awarded $567,879 in emergency funding for mosquito control as part of the state’s response to this year’s West Nile Virus outbreak.

“The state is committed to providing communities with the resources necessary to help protect our citizens from West Nile virus,” Ryan said. “There are precautions each of us should take to prevent the bite of a mosquito and local governmental agencies can use abatement techniques to reduce the adult mosquito population.”

The first three counties to receive emergency state monies are DuPage County ($397,160), Shelby County ($16,000) and Will County ($154,719). Applications for funding are pending from East Side Health District (St. Clair County) and Jackson County.

Local health departments are eligible for these special mosquito abatement funds if there is a human case of West Nile virus illness in their area and the county or municipality has exhausted its mosquito control resources.

Governor Ryan’s West Nile Virus Task Force, organized last fall after the virus was detected in two birds in the Chicago metropolitan area, reviews applications for the funds. The group began regular meetings last fall and meets regularly with Ryan to update him on West Nile virus activity and prevention measures.

State Public Health Director Dr. John R. Lumpkin, who leads the task force, has said the state is doing all it can to monitor West Nile Virus activity and to prevent the spread of the disease. The Illinois Department of Public Health’s laboratory is working seven days a week to assist hospitals and doctors with the testing of human samples, while the Illinois Department of Agriculture laboratory in Galesburg and the University of Illinois Veterinary Laboratory in Urbana-Champaign have handled most of the testing of birds, mosquitoes and horses for the virus.

Gov. Ryan and Dr. Lumpkin said citizens can take the following measures to reduce their risk of West Nile virus illness:

  • Avoid being outdoors at dawn, dusk and early evening when mosquitoes are most active. If outdoors at these times, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long- sleeved shirt. Loose-fitting, light colored clothing is best.

  • Use mosquito repellent containing 25 percent to 35 percent DEET to be outdoors, applied sparingly to exposed skin or clothing, as indicated on the repellent label. Consult a physician before using repellents on young children.

  • Check for and repair any holes or tears in residential screens, including porches and patios.

  • Eliminate stagnant water in bird baths, ponds, flower pots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles in which mosquitoes might breed.

The state has reported a total of 122 cases of West Nile virus illness this year, including eight deaths, in the city of Chicago and 11 counties -- Cook, DuPage, Ford, Jackson, LaSalle, Madison, Montgomery, Sangamon, Shelby, Stark, St. Clair and Will.

In addition, a total of 466 birds, 393 mosquito batches and 62 horses in 92 Illinois counties have tested positive this year for the virus since surveillance for the mosquito- transmitted virus began on May 1.

A complete listing of the positive birds, mosquito batches, horses and humans identified so far in Illinois, by county, is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us. Go to the West Nile Virus page and select “2002" under surveillance.



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