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updated: 6/20/2014 5:43 PM

West Nile case is first of year in Kane County

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By Lauren Rohr
lrohr@dailyherald.com

The West Nile virus is hitting Kane County early this year.

A dead crow tested positive for the virus after it was found and collected May 30 in Campton Township, county health officials announced Thursday.

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It is the county's first West Nile case this year. The virus has been found in birds and mosquitoes in seven Illinois counties so far, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. No people have been infected.

West Nile cases typically don't emerge until late July or early August. But Dan Eder, interim assistant director for community health resources, said neither county nor state health officials are overly concerned with the early findings.

And, he said, it's too early in the season to predict virus trends.

"It's kind of early to tell. We had a cold winter, but as it gets hotter, you're going to find more positive birds and mosquitoes," Eder said. "We just try to be proactive."

In Kane County, no human cases of West Nile were found last year, but 13 people tested positive for the virus in 2012.

Many people who are infected with West Nile will never experience symptoms, which can include fever or body aches, according to a county health department news release. But severe illness or death from the virus is possible, especially in people 50 and older.

County health officials advise residents to take extra precautions when they are outside, especially during dawn and dusk hours. To help prevent mosquito bites, people should wear long sleeves, long pants, shoes and socks when outdoors, and they should also apply insect repellent, officials said.

"We try to reinforce some education so people are just more cautious," Eder said.

Health department officials will send dead birds to the Illinois Department of Public Health for testing, Eder said. County residents can report the locations of freshly dead birds to the health department by calling (630) 444-3040.

Additional information about West Nile can be found at the health department website.

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