West Nile Virus


The Woodford County Health Department does surveillance to monitor birds and insects that can potentially carry the virus: dead crows, robins, blue jays, and mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can either carry the virus or get it by feeding on infected birds. Residents can assist with West Nile surveillance by reporting dead birds to the health department. Eligible birds are those that have been dead for less than 48 hours (have not started decomposing, no strong odor, no bloating, no maggots, eyes are not deflated or dried, etc.), have not been damaged by scavengers, and have no obvious cause of death. Waterfowl, gulls, vultures, turkeys, chickens, or eagles are not accepted. Dead birds will be accepted for testing from May 1, 2020 through October 15, 2020. Woodford County Health Department can accept 7 birds per year. As of June 15, 2020, 1 bird has been submitted for testing, 1 bird tested negative for West Nile Virus. When the  2020 limit for submitting birds for West Nile Virus has been met, WCHD will no longer be accepting birds for testing.     

The Health Department deploys mosquito traps throughout the community to collect mosquitoes for West Nile Virus testing. Approximately 30 mosquito traps are placed throughout the county per season. Pictured below is an example of a mosquito trap. If you see one in the community, please do not tamper with it. A trap set in your community does NOT mean that there is West Nile Virus in that area. 


Mild cases of West Nile infections may cause a slight fever or headache. More severe infections are marked by a rapid onset of a high fever with head and body aches, disorientation, tremors, convulsions and, in the most severe cases, paralysis or death. Usually symptoms occur from three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 60 years of age or older.

The best way to prevent West Nile encephalitis and other mosquito-borne illnesses is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and neighborhood and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Courtesy of Illinois Department of Public Health

Practice the 3 R’s, Reduce, Repel, Report. Ever wonder how we gather mosquitos to test for the virus? Our EH staff place mosquito traps in various locations in the county to gather mosquitos, then sort and test for West Nile Virus.

For more information, please  click here.