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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 14, 2006

West Nile virus claims another life
Fulton, Jasper and Moultrie - newest counties with positive bird or mosquito sample

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public (IDPH) has received a report of another death from West Nile.  A Chicago woman in her 80’s has died from neuroinvasive disease.

Five other people also have died this year from West Nile virus, a man in his 60’s from Will County, a man in his 80’s from Bond County and a woman in her 90’s from Cook County, a DuPage County woman in her 80’s and a Sangamon county man in his 90’s. 

A total of 135 human cases of West Nile virus, including the latest death of Chicago woman in her 80’s, have been reported to IDPH this year. New cases include:

• Chicago man in his 50’s with West Nile Fever
• Chicago man in his 60’s with neuroinvasive
• Chicago woman in her 60’s with neuroinvasive
• Cook County woman in her 30’s with neuroinvasive
• Cook County man in his 30’s with West Nile fever
• Cook County man in his 50’s with West Nile fever
• Cook County woman in her 60’s with neuroinvasive disease
• DeKalb County woman in her 70’s with West Nile fever
• DuPage County woman in her 30’s with West Nile fever
• Two DuPage County women in their 30’s with neuroinvasive disease
• DuPage County man in his 40’s with neuroinvasive disease
• DuPage County man in his 40’s with West Nile disease
• DuPage County man in his 50’s with neuroinvasive disease
• DuPage County woman in her 80’s with West Nile fever
• JoDaviess County man in his 60’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Lake County woman in her 40’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Morgan County man in his 60’s with West Nile Disease
• Moultrie County woman in her 50’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Ogle County man in his 40’s with neuroinvasive disease
• Will County woman in her 40’s with West Nile fever

“The West Nile season is not done and mosquitoes are not gone.  Although we’re approaching the end of summer, I still urge everyone to take precaution and protect yourselves from mosquitoes,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “A little bit of prevention can go a long way to avoiding the possible effects of mosquito bites.”

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.

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. 

Fulton, Jasper and Moultrie Counties are the newest counties reporting positive West Nile bird or mosquito samples.  On September 6, a positive mosquito sample was collected in Canton, by the Fulton County Health Department, and in Newton by Jasper County Health Department.  Also on September 6, the Moultrie County Health Department reported a positive Blue Jay was collected, in Sullivan. 

To date, 68 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.



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