Local government units, health and veterinary care providers and a variety of other agencies play a critical role in protecting public health from mosquito-borne diseases by forming part of the dense environmental surveillance network that acts to first identify possible outbreaks of WNV. The WCHD has sought to activate this network by compiling a list of contacts for all cities, villages and townships in Will County. Agencies, including park districts, highway and public works departments and forest preserve districts, have been informed about this department’s WNV Response plan and asked to increase their surveillance of dead birds starting in May..
The WCHD has also compiled a list of health care providers and requested that they assist in the surveillance of mosquito-borne diseases and follow the protocols for arbovirus testing which includes submitting samples of cerebrospinal fluid and/or serum to the IDPH laboratory for testing from individuals diagnosed with aseptic meningitis, meningoencephalitis, acute encephalitis, and Guillain-Barre’s syndrome identified from May to October. IDPH will in turn report confirmed cases to WCHD.
The department has also created a list of local veterinarians and animal care facilities in order to enlist their assistance in the surveillance of WNV. Veterinarians and veterinary facilities have been informed about this department’s WNV Response Plan and requested that they increase their surveillance of the birds, horses and dogs that they treat for any sign of WNV, and follow procedures established by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDA) for testing and reporting.
The WCHD itself has also undertaken certain measures to directly increase its role in surveillance of WNV. The Environmental Health Division applied for and received a grant for the trapping and testing of mosquitoes for West Nile Virus. Trapping and testing will be undertaken during the months when WNV is most prevalent.
The department has established a dedicated phone number to provide information about WNV and accept reports about dead birds and/or unusual bird mortality, a log to track calls, and a dead bird screening process including criteria for collection. The department is also working with Will County Animal Control to collect dead birds that will be forwarded to the University of Illinois Veterinary School of Medicine for testing. Results from testing will be reported to WCHD and mapped by IDPH.
The WCHD held a free seminar on WNV for representatives from units of local government, park districts, forest preserves and health care providers on March 6, 2012. The department intends to continue holding such seminars in the future whenever the need arises.
West Nile Virus Surveillance Hotline 815-740-7631
Download the Larvacide Request form and Bird Photos below this article.
Mosquitoes and Mosquito Repellents: A Clinician's Guide
Municipal Mosquito Control and Prevention of West Nile Virus
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention - West Nile Virus