UPDATED: Thursday, September 6, 2012 - 1:32pm
SCOTT COUNTY, Iowa — Chickens from the sentinel flock in Scott County, Iowa have tested positive for the West Nile virus.
Sentinel flocks are established specifically for monitoring certain viruses. Officials with the Scott County Health Department said the discovery of West Nile in the county's sentinel flock was not unexpected.
"Detection of virus exposure in the chickens indicates that there is West Nile virus transmission activity in the area," said a spokesperson for the health department. "Late summer and early fall are the times when the majority of human cases of West Nile Virus typically are reported."
The risk for contracting West Nile virus stays high until the first frost.
Two dead birds found in Rock Island County, Illinois and one dead bird found in Henry County, Illinois tested positive for West Nile virus in late August. Forty-three counties in Illinois reported finding the virus in animals including horses, birds and mosquitoes.
Seven human cases of West Nile virus have been confirmed this year in Iowa and 48 human cases are confirmed so far in Illinois. The case closest to the Quad Cities area happened in Linn County, Iowa.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the 2012 outbreak the largest for West Nile ever seen in the U.S.