|September 4, 2003||West Nile
Virus Web site
SANGAMON COUNTY WOMAN LATEST WEST NILE CASE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Public Health today announced that a 73-year-old Sangamon County woman is the state's third reported case of West Nile disease this year.
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, said the woman was diagnosed with West Nile fever, required hospitalization and has since been released.
Laboratory tests performed by the Illinois Department of Public Health were positive for the mosquito-borne disease and confirmatory tests are pending at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state's other cases this year have been a 69-year-old man from Champaign County with West Nile encephalitis and a 16-year-old boy from Macoupin County with West Nile fever.
Last year, Illinois led the nation in West Nile disease cases with 884 and 66 deaths. At this time in 2002, the Department had confirmed 211 human cases of West Nile disease and nine deaths.
Dr. Whitaker again encouraged 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 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 88 birds, 168 mosquito pools and four horses have tested positive for West Nile virus in 45 Illinois counties in 2003 since surveillance for the mosquito-transmitted virus began May 1.
West Nile virus activity has been detected in at least 44 states and human cases have been reported in 34 states, including Illinois. Colorado has the most West Nile disease human cases this year with 940.
Last year, more than 4,100 cases of West Nile disease and more than 280 deaths were recorded in the United States. The mosquito-borne disease was first confirmed in birds in Illinois 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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