|September 10, 2003||West Nile
Virus Web site
SANGAMON COUNTY WOMAN STATE'S NINTH WEST NILE CASE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - A 35-year-old Sangamon County woman has been identified as the ninth West Nile disease human case in Illinois this year, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced.
Dr. Whitaker said the woman, who was hospitalized with West Nile encephalitis and has since been released, had an extensive travel history prior to becoming ill July 26. She took a two-week camping trip to Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin, as well as spending time in Illinois. While it is not possible to pinpoint where she became infected by the bite of an infected mosquito, Colorado and North Dakota combined have had more than 1,000 human cases of West Nile disease this year.
There now have been a total of nine West Nile disease cases reported this year in Illinois - three in Sangamon County and one each in Cook, Champaign, LaSalle, Macoupin, Piatt and Whiteside counties. Last year, Illinois led the nation in West Nile disease cases with 884 and 66 deaths. As of this date in 2002, Illinois had counted 292 human cases of West Nile disease and recorded 11 deaths.
Dr. Whitaker continues to urge people to take simple, common sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites and protect themselves from West Nile disease. He also reminded Illinoisans that the mosquito season continues until there is a sustained, hard frost, which usually occurs in late October.
The suggested precautions include:
Dr. Whitaker said -- while there is reason for concern -- few people (about 1 in 150) will develop serious illness, even 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. 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.
Dr. Whitaker said infections can be mild and include fever, headache and body aches, or can be severe and marked by headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, convulsions, muscle -more- add 2 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 109 birds, 222 mosquito pools and 10 horses have tested positive in 2003 for West Nile virus in 54 Illinois counties since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus 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 44 states in 2003 and about 3,000 human cases have been reported in 35 states, including Illinois.
In Illinois, the mosquito-borne disease was first confirmed in birds in September 2001 and the state's first-ever human case was reported in August 2002.
The Culex or house mosquito, which can carry West Nile virus or the St. Louis encephalitis virus, breeds in warm, stagnant water and increases in numbers early in the summer.
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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