|August 15, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
THREE NEW HUMAN WEST NILE DISEASE CASES ANNOUNCED
SPRINGFIELD, IL Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced the number of human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this year has risen with the confirmation today of three new cases from the Chicago metropolitan area.
Dr. Lumpkin, who is heading Gov. George H. Ryan's West Nile Virus Task Force, met with the governor yesterday to update him on the state's response. "West Nile virus can be a serious threat to the health of Illinois citizens," said Gov. Ryan. "However, there is no cause for panic. There are a number of effective precautions people can take to prevent the illness."
The task force was organized by Gov. Ryan last fall to coordinate the state's response to the emergence of West Nile virus in the state. In addition to Dr. Lumpkin, it includes members from the departments of Public Health, Agriculture and Natural Resources and from the Environmental Protection Agency.
The three new cases, which brings the state's total to five, are:
Dr. Lumpkin said the current level of West Nile virus activity in the state makes it likely there will be additional human cases. He reminded people, though, that the chance of serious illness if bitten by a mosquito infected with West Nile virus is remote. In fact, he explained, just one in five of those infected will show any clinical signs of the illness at all and only one in 150 infected people will develop the more serious complications.
Dr. Lumpkin again urged people throughout Illinois to take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites:
A total of 353 birds, 196 mosquito batches and 13 horses in 77 Illinois counties including Cass, Fayette, Jo Daviess, Kendall and Schuyler counties where positive birds were reported for the first time today have tested positive this year for West Nile virus since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1. The state's first two human cases a 22-year-old temporary resident of Cook County and a 57-year-old from Madison County were reported the week of Aug. 5.
A complete listing of the positive birds, mosquito batches, horses and humans identified so far in Illinois, by county, is available on the Department's Web site at < www.idph.state.il.us >. Go to the West Nile virus page and select "2002" under surveillance.
The Culex or house mosquito, which can carry West Nile virus or St. Louis encephalitis virus, breeds in warm, stagnant water and begins to increase in numbers early in the summer. Hot, humid weather conditions in recent weeks have been ideal for breeding the Culex mosquito and, as a result, there has been a jump in the number of positive birds, horses and mosquitoes.
Hospitals and infectious disease physicians have been notified of the increase in detection of birds, mosquitoes and horses with West Nile virus and reminded to order tests for arbovirus infections for patients with appropriate symptoms.
In 2002, in addition to Illinois, human cases of West Nile encephalitis have been confirmed in Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and Washington, D.C.
Most people infected with West Nile virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill, three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Infections can be mild and include fever, headache and body aches, or severe and marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and, rarely, death. While everyone is at risk of West Nile disease, those at highest risk are persons 50 years of age or older.
West Nile virus was first confirmed in Illinois in September 2001 when two dead crows from the Chicago metropolitan area tested positive for the virus.
2002 West Nile virus surveillance information can be found on the Department's Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnvsurveillance_data_02.htm.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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