West Nile Virus detected in Mercer County

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

West Nile Virus has been detected in Mercer County.

According to the Mercer County Health Department, two birds were submitted for lab analysis prior to Aug. 20 and both tested positive for West Nile Virus. The lab results verify the prevalence of the illness in the county. Illinois Department of Public Health officials recent reported the first human case of WNV in St. Clair County.

The Mercer County Health Department has been testing mosquitoes throughout the summer and has had eight positive batches. The mosquitoes were trapped in several different townships, both in municipalities and in rural settings.

The virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people who become infected with the virus will either have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. About two of 10 people bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness, according to the Health Department.

Illness associated with West Nile is typically mild and includes symptoms such as fever, headache and body aches. But, serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis are possible. Persons older than 50 have the highest risk of developing serious illnesses because of West Nile Virus.