Winnebago County officials are reporting the first positive test in a bird in 2015 for West Nile Virus.

The bird was located in Rockton. Officials say the finding is much earlier from last year, when the first positive test occurred in September.

According to a press release:

Based on nationwide experience in Illinois over the previous 14 years of WNV presence in the United States, the peak period for WNV transmission, particularly to humans, has been from mid-July through the middle of October.

The best way to prevent West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites.  Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and report.

WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. West Nile virus is an infection that can cause serious illness, but most people infected with WNV have no signs or symptoms of illness. Persons at the highest risk for serious illness are those 50 years of age or older.