Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile in many southern Illinois - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Mosquitoes test positive for West Nile in many southern Illinois counties

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JACKSON COUNTY -- Already this year, several southern Illinois counties reported finding mosquitoes carrying the potentially deadly West Nile virus, but so far no southern Illinois cases of the virus have turned up in humans.

A report from the Illinois Department of Public Health shows one batch of infected mosquitoes turned up in White, Washington, Perry, Alexander and Johnson Counties, each.

Jackson and Union counties report two positive batches, Saline County has had 3 this year, Massac reports four positive batches, and Gallatin County tops the list with six batches of mosquitoes testing positive for West Nile.

A mosquito trap that looks like a tackle box is actually a helpful tool for environmental health workers like Kyle Scerena.

"We catch them live because we want to try to preserve that viral antigen," said Scerena.

He's catching mosquitoes to test them for West Nile.

"And the reason for us testing is because we want to identify when the virus is amplified enough that we start getting positives in mosquitoes, because then we can get a warning out," explained Scerena.

Especially with many southern Illinois counties reporting positive tests of mosquitoes with West Nile, it's a warning that could potentially save lives.

Scerena sets out traps like these once a week throughout Jackson County.

He then brings the samples back to the lab testing them for West Nile.

"The thing is West Nile is always going to be in the area, so it's not when it's going to be in the area, it's when is it going to be prevalent in the area," added Scerena.

As this week's test results come in.... 

"We don't see a line where you would see West Nile," added Scerena

Even though two batches in the county have tested positive for the virus.

Scerena says results are something everyone in Jackson County should be happy about.

"It's a positive that it's not positive," added Scerena.

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