|September 18, 2003||West Nile
Virus Web site
TWO NEW WEST NILE CASES FROM CHICAGO AREA
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The number of West Nile cases in Illinois this year rose to 18 today with the announcement by Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, of two new cases of the mosquito-borne disease in the Chicago area.
Dr. Whitaker said a 38-year-old woman from northern Cook County became ill Aug. 21 with West Nile fever and a 46-year-old woman from DuPage County became ill with West Nile fever July 16. Neither person required hospital care.
The state's other cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been from the city of Chicago (2), suburban Cook County (3), Sangamon County (3) and one each from and Champaign, DeKalb, DuPage, LaSalle, Macon, Macoupin, Piatt and Whiteside counties.
In 2002, Illinois led the nation in West Nile disease cases with 884 and 66 deaths and, as of this date last year, the state had counted 424 human cases and 25 deaths.
Dr. Whitaker has encouraged people to take simple, common sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites and to protect themselves from West Nile illness. 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.
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 161 birds, 297 mosquito pools and 14 horses have tested positive in 2003 for West Nile virus in 61 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 44 states in 2003 and more than 4,000 human cases have been reported in 37 states, including Illinois.
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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