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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 28, 2002

Illinois Receives Additional Funding to Fight West Nile Virus

CHICAGO -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced that Illinois will receive $400,506 from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assist in the control of West Nile virus.

"Illinois welcomes these additional dollars,” Ryan said. “Along with state dollars, this funding will help us sustain our continuing efforts to manage West Nile virus in Illinois.” Illinois plans to use the additional funds for laboratory enhancements, increased public awareness and local surveillance of conditions that result in the spread of the virus.

The state's West Nile Virus Task Force was organized by the governor last fall after the virus was detected in two birds in the Chicago metropolitan area. The group, which began regular sessions last fall, meets regularly with Ryan to update him on West Nile virus activity and prevention measures throughout the state.

State Public Health Director Dr. John R. Lumpkin, who leads the West Nile Virus Task Force, said the state is doing all it can to monitor West Nile virus activity. The DPH Chicago laboratory has been working seven days a week to assist hospitals and doctors with the testing of human samples. The funding will support increased staffing, equipment and supplies.

Human cases of West Nile virus have been identified in Chicago and 10 Illinois counties: Chicago (12), suburban Cook County (40), DuPage County (4), Ford County (1), Jackson (1), Madison County (3), Montgomery County (1), Sangamon County (2), Shelby County (1), St. Clair County (1) and Will County (5).

The average age of people who have contracted the virus in Illinois is 52.5 years. There have now been a total of four deaths due to West Nile virus illness.

A total of 439 birds, 236 mosquito batches and 62 horses in 92 Illinois counties have tested positive this year for West Nile since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.

A complete listing of the positive birds, mosquito batches, horses and humans identified so far in Illinois, by county, is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us. Go to the West Nile virus page and select “2002" under surveillance.



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