St. Louis Public Radio News
7:44 pm
Thu May 13, 2010

Bird in Metro-East tests positive for West Nile

St. Louis, MO – Illinois health officials report that a bird in the Metro-East has tested positive for West Nile virus.

State Public Health Director Dr. Damon Arnold says two birds have tested positive in Illinois so far this year: one in St. Clair County in the Metro-East, and another in the northwest part of the state.

Arnold says warming temperatures increase mosquito activity and the risk of West Nile virus transmission. Although most cases are mild, Arnold says the virus can cause serious and even fatal disease.

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has fed on an infected bird. People over 50 have the highest risk of severe illness.