|August 22, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
HUMAN CASES OF WEST NILE VIRUS ILLNESS RISE TO 26
SPRINGFIELD, IL The number of human cases of West Nile virus illness in Illinois has risen to 26 with the addition today of seven new laboratory positive cases, Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, has announced.
The new cases include a 41-year-old woman from Chicago, a 40-year-old women from Cook County, two 48-year-old women from Cook County, a 37-year-old man from Jackson County, a 44-year-old woman from Montgomery County and a 59-year-old woman from Will County.
"As has been noted previously, West Nile virus is firmly rooted in Illinois and it is not surprising that we are seeing additional cases," Dr. Lumpkin said. "Since May, we have been detecting positive birds, mosquitoes and horses, and human cases began being reported in early August. We are still early in the mosquito season and can expect continued West Nile virus activity until there is a heavy frost."
Dr. Lumpkin said most people who get infected with West Nile virus will have either no symptoms or mild symptoms, but a few individuals may have a more severe form of the disease, such as encephalitis or meningitis. He urged people throughout Illinois to take some simple steps to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites:
A total of 426 birds, 236 mosquito batches and 23 horses in 88 Illinois counties including Cumberland, Washington and Wayne 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 (4), suburban Cook County (8), DuPage County (3), Madison County (1), Sangamon 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 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. West Nile virus illness in Illinois has been reported in people ranging in age from 2 to 85, but serious illness is most often present in individuals 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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Springfield, Illinois 62761
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