"The two owls fell over dead for no apparently reason according to our contact which made us suspect that the bird was infected," said Gene Johnston, WCHD environmental coordinator.
One of the owls was packaged and sent to the Illinois Department of Agriculture lab in Galesburg for testing to determine if it had West Nile disease.
The lab reported late Friday, July 30, that owl was positive for West Nile, Johnston
"Owls are just as vulnerable as most other birds," he
Mosquitoes transmit West Nile virus to birds, horses and people.
West Nile virus transmits from mosquitoes that get the virus from infected birds and then transmit it to people.
West Nile virus does not spread by person-to-person contact or directly from animals to people.
Recent hot temperatures are providing conditions for West Nile virus to develop, Johnston
Culex mosquitoes, the primary vector for the spread of west nile virus, typically reproduce in artificial container other stagnant pools of water and come out at dawn and dusk to feed on birds or others.
So far, Whiteside County Health Department has sent five birds in for testing.
Each local health department can send a maximum of 10.
Whiteside County Health Department
also has conducted mosquito pool testing since the first week in July in Sterling, Rock Falls and Morrison.
All tests have come up negative in those areas, Johnston