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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2005

Gov. Blagojevich awards $2 million in grants for West Nile virus surveillance and control
Local health departments receive funding

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today awarded grants totaling $2 million to local health departments as part of this year’s efforts to detect and control mosquitoes that carry the West Nile virus or other mosquito-borne diseases.

 
“This money will go a long way in keeping Illinoisans, especially the elderly, protected from the West Nile virus,” Gov. Blagojevich said. “It’s important that we remain vigilant in our surveillance and prevention methods so that we never again experience the toll West Nile disease took on the state in 2002.”
 
The money comes from a special 50-cent fee on the purchase of new tires that was imposed in 2003 to create a public health emergency fund to finance human, mosquito, bird and horse surveillance for mosquito-borne diseases.  Local health departments that had positive West Nile virus activity in their area last year received funding.  The Cook County Department of Public Health is one of more than 60 grant recipients statewide.  
 
“We welcome this funding as it ensures our ability to continue mosquito and bird surveillance and mosquito prevention and control, as well as an enhanced capacity to protect the public from disease,” said Stephen A. Martin Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H., chief operating officer of the Cook County Department of Public Health.
 
Illinois’ 2005 surveillance for West Nile virus, which began May 1, includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows and blue jays, and the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms.  Citizens who find sick or dying crows or blue jays should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird is acceptable for testing.
 
 
So far this year, West Nile activity has been reported in DuPage (mosquitoes), Johnson (mosquitoes), McLean (crow) and Woodford (crow) counties. 
 
“We cannot predict what the West Nile virus activity will be this year in Illinois, but we can prepare,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “Surveillance alerts us to where infected birds or mosquitoes are located so that public health officials can notify citizens about the increased risk of mosquito-borne diseases in their area.” 
 
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.  Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
 
Only about two persons out of 10 bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness.  Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, are possible.  Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
 
In 2002, the state led the nation with 884 human cases, including 66 deaths, and West Nile activity was reported in 100 of 102 counties.  Last year, there were 60 human cases and four deaths, and West Nile activity was reported in 62 counties.  However, unusually cool weather last summer suppressed mosquito activity and consequently, hot summer weather this year could result in a higher number of cases.
 
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.  Precautions include:
·        Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.  Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
·        When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants. 
·        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, especially at night.
·        Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
 
Grants were awarded to the following local health departments:
 
  • Adams County Health Department, $14,827
  • Bond County Health Department, $2,271
  • Boone County Health Department, $6,382
  • Bureau County Health Department, $1,000
  • Calhoun County Health Department, $449
  • Cass County Health Department, $1,000
  • Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, $9,183
  • Chicago Public Health District, $628,918
  • Clay County Health Department, $1,287
  • Clinton County Health Department, $5,577
  • Cook County Department of Public Health, $538,730
  • DeKalb County Health Department, $1,000
  • DuPage County Health Department, $196,353
  • East Side Public Health District, $15,845
  • Egyptian Health Department, $4,290
  • Fayette County Health Department, $1,000
  • Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department, $6,870
  • Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department, $1,000
  • Fulton County Health Department, $5,927
  • Green County Health Department, $1,304
  • Grundy County Health Department, $1,000
  • Hancock County Health Department, $4,370
  • Henderson County Health Department, $726
  • Henry County Health Department, $1,000
  • Jackson County Health Department, $12,946
  • Jefferson County Health Department, $5,158
  • Jersey County Health Department, $1,915
  • Jo Daviess County Health Department, $3,871
  • Kane County Health Department, $87,761
  • Kankakee County Health Department, $22,549
  • Kendall County Health Department, $11,845
  • Knox County Health Department, $4,934
  • Lake County Health Department, $56,941
  • LaSalle County Health Department, $15,362
  • Lee County Health Department, $3,187
  • Logan County Health Department, $1,000
  • Macon County Health Department, $10,136
  • Macoupin County Health Department, $4,332
  • Madison County Health Department, $22,882
  • Marion County Health Department, $3,684
  • Mason County Health Department, $1,000
  • McDonough County Health Department, $1,000
  • McHenry County Health Department, $22,983
  • McLean County Health Department, $32,669
  • Menard County Health Department, $1,000
  • Mercer County Health Department, $1,498
  • Montgomery County Health Department, $2,709
  • Ogle County Health Department, $1,000
  • Peoria City/County Health Department, $1,000
  • Pike County Health Department, $1,000
  • Rock Island County Health Department, $32,439
  • Sangamon County Department of Public Health, $10,981
  • Schuyler County Health Department, $1,000
  • Springfield Department of Public Health, $24,204
  • St. Clair County Health Department, $1,000
  • Stephenson County Health Department, $1,000
  • Tazewell County Health Department, $1,000
  • Vermilion County Health Department, $1,000
  • Wabash County Health Department, $1,666
  • Washington County Health Department, $1,000
  • Whiteside County Health Department, $5,360
  • Will County Health Department, $109,075
  • Winnebago County Health Department, $24,603
  • Woodford County Health Department, $1,000
 
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on IDPH’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.


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