|August 30, 2002||West Nile
Virus Web site
NEW CASES OF WEST NILE ILLNESS BRING STATE TOTAL TO 122
SPRINGFIELD, IL Two Chicago-area deaths are among 24 new laboratory positive cases of West Nile virus illness announced today by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Illinois has reported 122 cases of West Nile virus illness this year, including seven deaths; these totals are the second highest in the United States.
Dr. John R. Lumpkin, state public health director, said the latest deaths were an 82-year-old woman from Chicago, who died Aug. 27, and an 89-year-old woman from southern Cook County, who died Aug. 25. As has been the case with the other deaths in Illinois, the two women had West Nile encephalitis.
"As we enjoy the outdoors this Labor Day weekend, I would like to remind people to follow some simple precautions to reduce their risk of mosquito bites," Dr. Lumpkin said. "While this disease is relatively rare, infecting less than 1 in 100,000 people in Illinois, there are some common sense steps we can all take to protect ourselves."
The new cases reported today include seven from the city of Chicago, 15 from suburban Cook County, and one each from LaSalle and Stark counties:
Human cases have been identified in Chicago and 11 Illinois counties: Chicago (21), suburban Cook County (70), DuPage County (8), Ford County (1), Jackson County (2), LaSalle County (2), Madison County (3), Montgomery County (1), Sangamon County (2), Shelby County (1), Stark County (1), St. Clair County (3) and Will County (7). The average age of the Illinois cases is 54.3. Previous to today's reported fatalities, there have been five other deaths due to West Nile virus illness in the state: a 67-year-old man from DuPage County, a 67-year-old woman from suburban Cook County, an 83-year-old man from Chicago, a 92-year-old woman from suburban Cook County and an 83-year-old woman from suburban Cook County.
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. Lumpkin said most people who get infected with West Nile virus have either no symptoms or mild symptoms, but a few individuals may develop a more severe form of the disease, such as encephalitis or meningitis.
A total of 466 birds, 393 mosquito batches and 62 horses in 92 Illinois
counties have tested positive this year for the virus since surveillance for
the mosquito-transmitted virus began on
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 92, 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_data02.htm.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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