First Human West Nile Virus Cases in Illinois For 2011 Reported

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      The Illinois Department of Public

                      Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first human West Nile

                      virus cases reported in Illinois for 2011.  The Cook

                      County Health Department reported a man in his 80s

                      became ill earlier this month and the

                      Franklin-Williamson Bi-County Health Department

                      reported a man in his 30s became ill in July.

                      “West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes and birds

                      continues to increase across Illinois, which means a

                      higher risk of people contracting the virus,” said

                      Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr.

                      Damon T. Arnold.  “People should protect themselves

                      against mosquitoes by wearing insect repellent and

                      getting rid of any standing water around their


                      So far this year, 13 counties have reported mosquito

                      batches, birds or a person testing positive for West

                      Nile virus; Champaign, Cook, DuPage, Franklin,

                      Gallatin, Jackson, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Macon, St.

                      Clair, Tazewell and Will counties.  The first West

                      Nile virus positive results this year were collected

                      on June 8 and included two birds from LaSalle County.

                      In 2010, the first positive mosquito samples were

                      collected on June 3 in Gallatin County.  Last year,

                      30 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a

                      West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human

                      case.  A total of 61 human cases of West Nile disease

                      were reported in Illinois last year, the first

                      reported on August 31.

                      West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a

                      mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on

                      an infected bird.  Most people with the virus have no

                      clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill

                      three to 15 days after the bite of an infected


                      Only about two people in 10 who are bitten by an

                      infected mosquito will experience any illness.

                      Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes

                      fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness,

                      such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are


                      Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest

                      risk of severe disease.

                      The best way to prevent West Nile disease 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


                      • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most

                      active, especially between dusk and dawn.

                      • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and

                      a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that

                      contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or

                      IR 3535, according to label instructions.  Consult a

                      physician before using repellents on infants.

                      • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting

                      screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears

                      or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows

                      shut, especially at night.

                      • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can

                      support mosquito breeding, including water in bird

                      baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and

                      any other receptacles.  In communities where there

                      are organized mosquito control programs, contact your

                      municipal government to report areas of stagnant

                      water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar

                      locations that may produce mosquitoes.

                      Public health officials believe that a hot summer

                      increases mosquito activity and the risk of disease

                      from West Nile virus.

                      Additional information about West Nile virus can be

                      found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s

                      Web site at