Vectors are organisms that transmit infections from one host to another. Your St. Clair County Health Department monitors certain vectors and provides training and information to agencies and citizens to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease.
Vector Control Program
The Vector Control Program focuses on education and surveillance of mosquitoes and ticks. Areas of St. Clair County located within the 18 townships under the jurisdiction of the St. Clair County Health Department are surveyed on an annual basis. With the occurrence of West Nile virus, surveillance and public education are conducted each season. Mosquitoes are collected, identified and tested for West Nile virus. Brochures are handed out to communities on the importance of minimizing mosquito breeding areas. Educational information is available for all residents on how to reduce breeding sites and personal protective measures. Public complaints are investigated and corrective action enforced based upon validity. Tick collections are also conducted annually to identify the presence of deer ticks in an effort to prevent Lyme disease.
What are the goals of the program?
The Vector Control Program focuses on protecting the public health through education and surveillance of mosquitoes and ticks.
Who is eligible for this program/service?
Residents of St. Clair County located within the 18 townships under the jurisdiction of the St. Clair County Health Department.
Bats in Illinois
There are 13 bat species commonly found in Illinois, but the big brown bat, little brown bat, eastern red bat, and silver-haired bat are the most commonly encountered species by people.
All Illinois bats are protected under the Wildlife Code (520 ILCS 5/1.1). Bats may not be shot, trapped, transported, or held in confinement except when a bat is found in an area where they may have contact with humans or domestic pets.
Collecting and testing dead birds is an important component of the West Nile Virus surveillance program. West Nile Virus generally appears in birds and mosquitoes before it is transmitted to humans; therefore, monitoring bird populations helps predict when and where humans will be at risk for West Nile Virus infections as well as where and when additional precautions and control measures should be taken.
Results of these tests help us determine the extent of West Nile Virus activity. Because the virus generally appears and grows in Illinois bird and mosquito populations before it is transmitted to humans, monitoring bird and mosquito populations helps us predict when and where humans will be at risk for West Nile Virus infection as well as where and when additional precautions and control measures should be taken. While many health departments, mosquito abatement districts and other agencies collect and test mosquitoes, we ask the public for help with the collection of dead birds.
From May-October, if you find a dead bird that meets the following requirements, please contact St. Clair County Health Department at 618-233-7769. SCCHD is authorized to send 2-5 birds per year to IDPH for West Nile Virus testing. It is important that the following requirements are met:
- The bird is dead, but the carcass is in good condition. Birds should be dead no more than about 48 hours prior to collection and should not show signs of advanced decomposition (maggots, strong odor, dried or deflated eyes).
- The bird shows no signs of causes other than disease. Birds with obvious injuries such as wounds or missing parts should not be submitted for testing. Likewise, crushed carcasses and birds found along roadways are not acceptable.
- The bird must be one that is acceptable for testing. Some acceptable species are crows, blue jays, grackles, starlings, robins, cardinals, sparrows, finches, hawks or owls. Birds that will not be accepted include pigeons, ducks, geese, chickens, or other large birds and endangered species.
If a bird meets these conditions, please call St. Clair County Health Department at (618) 233-7769.
If the following requirements are not met, if it is possible, please leave the bird alone with the ongoing situation with Avian Flu. If it must be discarded, please wear the appropriate PPE and discard of appropriately. For more information on Avian Flu, visit IDPH Avian Influenza (Bird Flu).
The West Nile Virus (WNV) surveillance program is a component of the Division of Environmental Health which is funded by the Vector Control and Surveillance Grant provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
The Division of Environmental Health conducts surveillance activities by operating gravid traps design to capture WNV positive Culex mosquitoes throughout St. Clair County. Surveillance activities begin late spring and continues until late full. Mosquitoes are collected weekly and regularly tested for WNV.
Ticks are found in and around wooded areas or areas with tall grass, brush, or other vegetation, ticks will attach themselves to hosts, including people, and begin to feed. Tick bites have the potential to transmit diseases, but not all bites will cause illness. In fact, of the number of tick species in Illinois, only a few bite and transmit diseases to people. However, as tick-borne diseases become more common, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s important to know how to protect against tick bites, how to remove a tick, and recognize symptoms of tick-borne diseases.