|August 16, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
STATE'S FIRST DEATH AMONG LATEST WEST NILE VIRUS HUMAN
CHICAGO, IL Four new cases of West Nile virus illness have been confirmed in Illinois, including the death of a 67-year-old DuPage County man, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced. This brings to nine the number of human West Nile virus cases reported this year in the state.
Dr. Lumpkin also announced that Gov. George H. Ryan has directed him to work with local health departments in areas where there have been human cases to ensure they have the resources needed to mount aggressive mosquito control efforts.
"Many counties and communities have mosquito abatement programs in place, such as Chicago, which is larviciding catch basins," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Other Chicago metropolitan areas also have mosquito abatement districts that fund ongoing efforts; however, some areas may need assistance and the state stands ready to help in any way it can."
Dr. Lumpkin, who heads Gov. Ryan's West Nile Virus Task Force, said the state is doing all it can to monitor West Nile virus activity in the state and the Department of Public Health Chicago laboratory is working seven days a week to assist hospitals and doctors with the testing of human samples.
"Unfortunately, it is my duty today to report the first fatality in our state due to West Nile virus illness," Dr. Lumpkin said. "The man, who had slipped into a coma after being admitted to the hospital, died on Aug. 10. We offer our sympathies to his family."
Following are the four new cases:
Dr. Lumpkin reiterated that 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 small, but real. In fact, he explained, just one in five persons 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 377 birds, 196 mosquito batches and 13 horses in 81 Illinois counties including Edwards, Menard, Morgan and Montgomery 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. Three other cases a 70-year-old man from southern Cook County, a 49-year-old woman from Will County and a 41-year-old from Chicago (Cook County) were reported Aug. 15.
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.stateil.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.
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.
The state's West Nile Virus Task Force was organized by Gov. Ryan last fall after the virus was detected in two birds in the Chicago metropolitan area. The group, which began regular sessions last fall, met with Gov. Ryan on Wednesday to update him on West Nile virus activity in the state .
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
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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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