VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — West Nile Virus is now confirmed to be in Vermilion County after an infected mosquito batch was found near Fairmount.

Officials with the Vermilion County Health Department said the positive result is the county’s first of 2023. Since May, the department has had 16 traps set up throughout the county to catch batches of mosquitoes for West Nile testing. The 38 previous batches that were caught in these traps all tested negative.

“It’s always a good idea to assume that West Nile Virus is prevalent in the mosquito population and to take the proper precautions,” said VCHD interim public health administrator Jana Messmore. “We tend to see more positive mosquito batches later in the summer months, so it’s
very important to protect yourself if you aren’t already doing so.”

People can protect themselves from mosquitoes by practicing what the Illinois Department of Public Health calls the “three Rs” – reduce, repel and report:

  • Reduce
    • Avoid being outdoors between dusk and dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.
    • Ensure doors and windows are shut, especially at night, and have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace any screens that have tears or other openings.
    • Eliminate standing sources of water where mosquitoes can breed, including bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools and other containers.
  • Repel
    • Wear shoes and socks, long pants and long-sleeved shirts when outdoors. Also apply insect repellent.
  • Report
    • Contact municipal governments to report areas of stagnant water that may produce mosquitoes, including roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations.

People can also report dead birds who appear to have died from natural causes. Birds can be reported by calling 217-431-2662 ext. 5.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that so far in 2023, there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in the state. As of Aug. 9, almost 13,500 mosquito batches and 96 dead birds have been collected and tested across the state. Of those, 14% of mosquito batches and six birds tested positive, one of which was in Ford County.