SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of eight new cases of West Nile virus. This year’s total is 184 human cases in Illinois and nine deaths. The latest reported cases are:
• Cook County woman in her 70’s with West Nile Fever
• DuPage County woman in her 50’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• DuPage County man in his 70’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• Kankakee County woman in her 40’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• Lake County woman in her 40’s with West Nile Fever
• McHenry County man in his 30’s with West Nile Fever
• Macoupin County man in his 70’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• Marion County man in his 80’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
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.
“Mosquitoes are still present – despite the cooler temps. If temperatures are about 50 degrees after dark, mosquitoes will still be out and you need to protect yourself from being bitten,” 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.
To date, 72 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.