|August 19, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
MASSAC COUNTY HORSE POSITIVE FOR WEST NILE VIRUS
SPRINGFIELD, IL The number of Illinois counties reporting West Nile virus activity grew to 82 today with the confirmation that a horse from Massac County has tested positive for the mosquito-transmitted virus.
In addition to the Massac County horse, nine other horses -- in Clay (1), Montgomery (1), Madison (4), Union (2) and Wabash (1) counties were reported positive today for West Nile virus after tests by the Illinois Department of Agriculture Laboratory in Galesburg. A total of nine humans, including one death; 390 birds; 196 mosquito batches; and 23 horses in 82 of the state's 102 counties have tested positive this year for West Nile virus since surveillance for the virus began May 1.
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.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, urged people throughout Illinois to take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites:
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 the rapid development and activity of the Culex mosquito and, as a result, there has been a jump in the number of positives.
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.
While most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill, usually three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. When people do become ill, symptoms may be mild, such as a fever or headache. For individuals 50 years and older, particularly the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, West Nile virus can cause serious disease that includes inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), muscle weakness, high fever, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.
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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