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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich announces more than $2.8 million to help protect Illinoisans from West Nile virus
101 people infected with West Nile virus in Illinois last year

SPRINGFIELD – As summer approaches, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced today more than $2.8 million in funding to health departments across Illinois to perform surveillance, prevent and control mosquitoes to prevent against the West Nile virus. Last year in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) received reports of 101 people infected with West Nile virus, four of whom died.  These cases were reported in all regions of the state, from Cook County to Williamson County and from Rock Island County to Wabash County.
 
“These grants will help protect people from West Nile - a preventable disease.  They will help local health departments track and control mosquito populations and educate people about how to protect themselves from bites,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
 
The primary purpose of the West Nile virus grants is to perform surveillance, which includes collecting and testing mosquitoes and birds for the virus.  Health departments can also use the funding for mosquito control efforts, to inform the public about action they can take to prevent being infected with West Nile virus and to inspect areas where mosquitoes are likely to breed such as improperly maintained swimming pools and tire dumps.
 
“A person infected with West Nile may have mild symptoms such as a slight fever or headache.  But more severe infections can result in the rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death.  This is why it’s so important to protect yourself from mosquito bites,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold.
 
Almost every health department in Illinois received funding for West Nile virus prevention and surveillance.  Grant amounts are based on documented West Nile virus activity, number of human cases of mosquito-borne diseases and environmental surveillance data collected during the previous year.
 
IDPH is also providing more than $260,000 in larvicide to local health departments to treat stagnant water where mosquito larvae are produced, instead of spraying for adult mosquitoes, which is a short term solution and can be very expensive.
 
Last year Illinois ranked 12th in the nation for the total number of people infected with West Nile virus.  People infected with the virus ranged from just months old to 87 years.  The West Nile virus season typically begins around May and last until the first hard frost.  In 2007, Illinois saw the largest number of people infected with West Nile during the week of September 15. 
 
The first human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois occurred in 2002 with 884 human cases and 67 deaths, more than any other state in the nation.  After the cool summers of 2003 and 2004, West Nile virus activity in Illinois resurged during the hot summers of 2005, 2006 and 2007.
 
“How active West Nile virus is during 2008 may be dependent on summer temperatures.  High temperatures and lack of rain results in stagnant water in catch basins, ditches and retention ponds where “house” mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus breed.  Heavy rains increases nuisance “floodwater” mosquitoes that rarely transmit West Nile virus,” said IDPH entomologist Linn Haramis, Ph.D.
 
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. 
 
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 flowerpots, clogged roof gutters, old tires and any other receptacles.  Change water in bird baths weekly.  Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish.  Cover rain barrels with 16 mesh wire screen.  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.
 
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.
 
The following health departments received West Nile virus protection grants.
 
 
Health Department
Amount
Adams County Health Department
$9,000.00
Bond County Health Department
$1,000.00
Boone County Health Department
$13,340.98
Bureau County Health Department
$12,537.90
Calhoun County Health Department
$1,000.00
Carroll County Health Department
$1,000.00
Champaign County Health Department
$9,439.04
Campaign-Urbana Public Health District
$19,575.67
Chicago Public Health District
$693,770.82
Clark County Health Department
$1,000.00
Clay County Health Department
$1,000.00
Clinton County Health Department
$6,541.99
Coles County Health Department
$1,000.00
Cook County Health Department
$620,426.93
Crawford County Health Department
$1,000.00
Cumberland County Health Department
$1,000.00
DeKalb County Health Department
$2,000.00
DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department
$1,000.00
Douglas County Health Department
$1,000.00
DuPage County Health Department
$228,288.98
East Side Public Health District
$24,954.09
Effingham County Health Department
$8,000.00
Egyptian County Health Department
$20,613.65
Fayette County Health Department
$1,000.00
Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department
$9,000.00
Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department
$13,821.88
Fulton County Health Department
$1,000.00
Green County Health Department
$1,000.00
Grundy County Health Department
$5,181.31
Hancock County Health Department
$1,000.00
Henderson County Health Department
$1,000.00
Henry County Health Department
$14,521.24
Jackson County Health Department
$14,640.64
Jasper County Health Department
$1,000.00
Jefferson County Health Department
$8,000.00
Jersey County Health Department
$1,000.00
JoDaviess County Health Department
$6,000.00
Kane County Health Department
$108,671.38
Kankakee County Health Department
$8,000.00
Kendall County Health Department
$8,000.00
Knox County Health Department
$1,000.00
Lake County Health Department
$166,139.70
LaSalle County Health Department
$22,252.79
Lawrence County Health Department
$1,000.00
Lee County Health Department
$6,017.22
Livingston County Health Department
$2,000.00
Logan County Health Department
$1,000.00
Macon County Health Department
$35,439.41
Macoupin County Health Department
$13,460.60
Madison County Health Department
$42,097.17
Marion County Health Department
$8,000.00
Mason County Health Department
$1,000.00
McDonough County Health Department
$1,000.00
McHenry County Health Department
$71,214.35
McLean County Health Department
$28,227.96
Mercer County Health Department
$1,000.00
Monroe-Randolph Bi-County Health Department
$1,000.00
Montgomery County Health Department
$2,000.00
Morgan County Health Department
$2,000.00
Moultrie County Health Department
$1,000.00
Ogle County Health Department
$7,522.78
Peoria City/County Health Department
$20,000.00
Perry County Health Department
$1,000.00
Pike County Health Department
$9,221.98
Putnam County Health Department
$1,000.00
Rock Island County Health Department
$43,732.52
Sangamon County Health Department
$54,199.94
Schuyler County Health Department
$1,000.00
Shelby County Health Department
$1,000.00
Southern Seven Health Department
$18,264.49
Stark County Health Department
$1,000.00
St. Clair County Health Department
$53,304.59
Stephenson County Health Department
$2,000.00
Tazewell County Health Department
$38,735.55
Vermilion County Health Department
$9,000.00
Wabash County Health Department
$2,653.57
Warren County Health Department
$10,394.66
Washington County Health Department
$1,000.00
Whiteside County Health Department
$23,509.11
Will County Health Department
$131,149.62
Winnebago County Health Department
$78,601.80
Woodford County Health Department
$13,533.56


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