Illinois public health officials say they’ve found the season’s first West Nile-positive bird in southwestern Illinois.
The results from a starling in Monroe County come two months after the state found the year’s first mosquitoes with the virus.
The agency’s director says that means it’s “only a matter of time” until the illness is found in humans this season.
The first mosquitoes carrying West Nile were found in May in Cook County. Since then, West Nile’s been found in animals in a total of 17 counties.
Last year, the virus was found in 55 of the state’s counties and nearly 300 people contracted the illness. Twelve died.
This year’s spring flooding caused an increase in mosquitoes — both the kind that carry the virus and those that don’t.