|September 29, 2003||West Nile
Virus Web site
WEST NILE DISEASE CASE TOTAL CLIMBS TO 24
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The number of human cases of West Nile disease this year has increased to 24 with the announcement today by Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, that new cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been identified in northern Cook County and Vermilion County.
Dr. Whitaker said the latest cases are:
The state's other cases of the mosquito-borne disease this year have been from the city of Chicago (2), suburban Cook County (6), DuPage County (2), Sangamon County (3) and one each from and Champaign, DeKalb, LaSalle, Macon, Macoupin, McLean, Piatt, St. Clair 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 reported 573 human cases and 32 deaths.
Dr. Whitaker has advised 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 will continue until there is a sustained, hard frost that 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 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 187 birds, 338 mosquito pools and 17 horses have tested positive in 2003 for West Nile virus in 63 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 5,000 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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