Annual West Nile virus prevention program to begin in Illinois

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CHICAGO - Annual efforts to prevent the mosquito-borne West Nile virus from infecting Illinois residents is underway, according to health officials.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Wednesday that grants have been awarded to local health departments, and that dead birds are being accepted for testing.

A total of nearly $3 million in grants were distributed between 92 health departments based on population and surveillance of the virus for the past three years.  Local departments can use the grant money to improve prevention programs.  Such programs would include collecting birds and mosquito samples for West Nile virus testing, the investigation of human cases of the virus, and the control of larval mosquitoes.

Eleven people died last year from West Nile virus.

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