First Central Illinois Human West Nile Virus Cases

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the first human West Nile virus cases in central Illinois for 2012. Both cases are from Peoria County; a woman in her 30s and a man in his 50s.

"Despite cooler temperatures, we're still seeing people diagnosed with West Nile virus," said IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "You need to continue to protect your self by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of any standing water around your home."

Currently, IDPH is reporting 94 human cases, including three deaths. The first human case of West Nile virus was reported on July 24. In 2011, there were 34 human cases, including three deaths, for the entire year.

So far this year, 48 counties have reported mosquito batches, birds, horses or people testing positive for West Nile virus. The first West Nile virus positive bird, a crow, was collected on May 16 in Chicago, and the first positive mosquito samples were collected on May 17, 2012 in Cook and DuPage counties.

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 50 and older 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 practicing the three "R's" – reduce, repel and report.

REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

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 where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.

REPEL - 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.

REPORT - In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report dead birds and areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.