SPRINGFIELD – Ten new human cases of West Nile virus have been reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) bringing the total this year to 49. New cases include:
• Cook County man in his 20’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Cook County man in his 50’s with West Nile fever
• Cook County woman in her 70’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Cook County woman in her 70’s with West Nile fever
• Lake County man in his 60’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Lake County woman in her 60’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Lake County man in his 70’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Sangamon County woman in her 50’s with West Nile fever
• Will County woman in her 30’s with West Nile fever
• Will County man in his 40’s with neuroinvasive disease
Two people have died so far this year from West Nile virus, a man in his 60’s from Will County and a man in his 80’s from Bond County.
“People across the state, especially older persons, need to make sure to protect themselves against mosquito bites. This is the riskiest time of year for West Nile virus. Mosquitoes that carry the virus peak around late summer and IDPH is seeing more and more human cases of West Nile virus every day,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
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 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile disease is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
Hamilton County is the newest county reporting a positive West Nile virus mosquito sample collected on August 28 in Mc Leansburo.
To date, 62 counties out of 102 have reported positive test results for West Nile virus in mosquitoes, birds and horses. A list of those counties can be found on the IDPH website.
Individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these 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 includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus 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.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or people can call the West Nile Virus Hotline at
866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.