First West Nile Virus Related Death Reported in Illinois

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

                      The Illinois Department of Public

                      Health (IDPH) is reporting the first West Nile virus

                      related death in Illinois for 2011.  A Cook County

                      man in his 60s, who had underlying health conditions,

                      was diagnosed with West Nile virus in August and died

                      earlier this month.

                      “Although temperatures have been cooler recently, we

                      continue to see West Nile virus activity across

                      Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Public Health

                      Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold.  “People need to

                      continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites

                      by using insect repellent or staying indoors.”

                      Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health

                      is reporting eight human cases of West Nile virus in

                      Illinois.  The first human cases of West Nile virus

                      were reported on August 19 and occurred in a Cook

                      County man in his 80s and a Franklin County man in

                      his 30s.

                      So far this year, 17 counties have reported mosquito

                      batches, birds or people testing positive for West

                      Nile virus.  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, including four deaths, were reported in

                      Illinois last year.  The first human case was

                      reported on August 31 and the West Nile virus related

                      death was reported on September 22.

                      West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a

                      mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on

                      an infected bird.  Common West Nile virus symptoms

                      include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.

                      Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.

                      However, four out of five people infected with West

                      Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare

                      cases, severe illness including meningitis or

                      encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older

                      than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from

                      West Nile Virus.

                      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

                      include:

                      • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most

                      active, especially between dusk and dawn.

                      • When outdoors, 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 www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.