|July 22, 2004||2004 West Nile Virus Web site|
JO DAVIESS COUNTY MAN STATE'S FIRST WEST NILE POSITIVE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. A 67-year-old man from Jo Daviess County is the first Illinois resident this year to be diagnosed with West Nile disease, Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced.
Dr. Whitaker said the man, who only reported travel in Jo Daviess County, became ill on July 11, was hospitalized with West Nile encephalitis and is now recuperating at home. Confirmatory tests are pending at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It comes as no surprise that we have a human case of West Nile disease because of our state's past history with this disease, but the recurrence is a compelling reminder of the importance to all of us to take steps to prevent this disease," Dr. Whitaker said. "We urge everyone who spends time outdoors to protect themselves from mosquito bites."
In 2003, Illinois recorded 54 human cases, including one death, and in 2002, the state led the nation with 884 human cases and 66 deaths. So far this year, 34 of the state's 102 counties have confirmed positives for West Nile virus since state and local health departments began surveillance for the mosquito-borne disease on May 1, including 86 birds and 102 mosquito pools.
"People can take two simple steps to prevent infection - avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellants with DEET and wearing light, long-sleeved clothing and mosquito proofing their home by emptying standing water around their property and installing or repairing window and door screens," Dr. Whitaker said.
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.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Although illness from West Nile is usually mild and include fever, headache and body aches, serious illness and death are possible, particularly for persons over the age of 50 or persons that are immunosuppressed.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department's Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or people can call the Department's West Nile virus hotline (866-369-9710) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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