West Nile virus, found in birds and mosquitoes, has been identified by the Illinois Department of Public Health in 13 counties--Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Gallatin, Jackson, Kendall, LaSalle, Madison, Peoria, St. Clair, Stephenson and Will counties--as of June 20. Horse owners are being urged by local veterinarians to vaccinate animals and to ensure vaccinations are current. According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, one in three horses infected with West Nile will succumb to the virus.
The Illinois Department of Public Health updates identification of West Nile virus infections on its website, www.idph.state.il.us, every Wednesday. The department can be contacted at (866) 369-9710 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.