Health officials stay alert after West Nile detected in bird - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Health officials stay alert after West Nile detected in bird

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QUINCY, Ill. (WGEM) -

Illinois public health officials say they've found the summer's first bird that tested positive for West Nile near St. Louis.

And they say it's only a matter of time until the illness is found in humans.

Leo Mueller with the Adams County Health Department traps and tests mosquitoes in park areas like this during summer months. He says spring flooding caused an increase in mosquitoes; both that carry the virus and those that don't.

Mueller says the first sign West Nile is spreading is more dead birds. That's because once a bird has been bit by an infected mosquito, other mosquitoes will then get the virus when they bite that bird.

Mueller says so far, they haven't had any mosquitoes test positive.

"That doesn't mean that they weren't there. It just means the ones that we happened to catch in our traps didn't show positive," Mueller said. "The years since I've been doing it, this is my fifth year of being involved with this program and 2011 was the only year we didn't have positive."

Mueller says if you see a dead bird that isn't decomposing and doesn't have signs of trauma, you can call the health department to come possibly have it tested.

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