|August 20, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
SEVEN ADDITIONAL WEST NILE VIRUS HUMAN CASES
SPRINGFIELD, IL Seven new human cases of West Nile virus illness have been confirmed in Illinois, bringing to 16 the number of cases reported so far this year in the state, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, today announced.
Dr. Lumpkin said the state is working to provide assistance with mosquito abatement efforts in areas with human cases, is operating its Chicago laboratory seven days a week to assist hospitals and doctors with the testing of human samples and is continuing to monitor West Nile virus activity in the state.
The new cases are
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 406 birds, 215 mosquito batches and 23 horses in 85 Illinois counties including Carroll, Moultrie and Pulaski 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 other human cases were from Chicago (2), Cook County (3), DuPage County (1), Madison County (1) and Will County (2). A 67-year-old man from DuPage County is the state's only West Nile virus illness death.
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.
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.
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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