|October 15, 2003||West Nile
Virus Web site
FOUR WEST NILE DISEASE CASES REPORTED
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced four new West Nile disease cases have raised to 43 the state's total this year for the mosquito-borne disease.
Dr. Whitaker said the latest cases are:
The state's West Nile disease cases this year, which include one death - a 78-year-old woman from suburban Cook County - are from the city of Chicago (4), suburban Cook County (14), DuPage County (3), Madison County (2), Piatt (3), Sangamon County (4), -more- add 1 Will County (2) and one each from Champaign, DeKalb, Lake, LaSalle, Macon, Macoupin, McLean, St. Clair, Vermilion, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.
In 2002, Illinois had the most West Nile disease cases in the nation with 884 and 66 deaths and, as of this date last year, the state had reported 675 West Nile human cases and 41 deaths.
Although temperatures have cooled recently, Dr. Whitaker reminded Illinoisans it was still important to follow simple, common sense precautions to reduce the chance of mosquito bites until their area experiences a sustained hard freeze (27 degrees F or less for several hours). Until a hard freeze kills the mosquitoes, some will remain and may bite during warm fall daylight hours, especially in areas near dense vegetation where they hide.
Dr. Whitaker said individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile disease and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:
Dr. Whitaker said - while there is reason for concern - few people (about 1 in 150) will develop serious illness if bitten by an infected mosquito.
WNV is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Dr. Whitaker said most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Those who become ill may have mild symptoms and include fever, headache and body aches, or can be severe and marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, convulsions, muscle weakness, paralysis and, in rare cases, death. Serious West Nile virus illness is most often present in individuals 50 years of age or older.
A total of 222 birds, 388 mosquito pools and 25 horses have tested positive in 2003 for West Nile virus in 68 Illinois counties since surveillance began May 1. Last year, West Nile activity was reported in 100 of the state's 102 counties.
West Nile virus has been detected in 45 states in 2003 and more than 6,800 human cases have been reported.
The Culex or house mosquito, which can carry West Nile virus or the St. Louis encephalitis virus, breeds in warm, stagnant water and remains active and biting until there is a hard frost.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department's Web site http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or by calling the Department's West Nile virus hotline at 1-866-369-9710.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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