The Northwestern Health Unit would like to advise the public that a dead crow collected in Sioux Lookout has been confirmed positive for the West Nile virus. The Northwestern Health Unit was advised Monday by the Canadian Co-Operative Wildlife Health Centre in Guelph that a dead crow submitted by the Sioux Lookout office was confirmed positive for the West Nile virus. This is the first West Nile virus positive bird identified in the Kenora and Rainy River districts in 2007. The West Nile virus is spread to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes become infected by biting an infected bird. The virus is not spread by person-to-person contact, and cannot be spread directly from bird to human. The risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of an infection with West Nile virus is extremely low, and most people who become infected experience no symptoms or have very mild illness, with fever, headache, muscle weakness, or body aches. Those at increased risk of severe illness are individuals over 50 years of age and those with weakened immune systems. Symptoms of West Nile virus encephalitis (the rare, serious form of the disease) include severe headache, stiff neck, nausea, and vomiting, as well as altered level of consciousness and mental state. Even though the risk of contracting West Nile virus is low, the appearance of WNV positive birds confirms the virus is active in the area and, consequently, the risk of infection still exists.