October 12, 2005
MCLEAN COUNTY MAN DIES AFTER BEING HOSPITALIZED
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced the death of an 84-year-old McLean County man who had been hospitalized with West Nile neuroinvasive disease.
The man, who had not yet been reported as a case, died Oct. 10. His physician indicated that other conditions contributed to his death.
In addition, two other new cases of West Nile have been identified in the state, bringing to 211 the number of cases reported so far this year.
The new cases are:
The state’s other cases of West Nile disease have been from Chicago (33), suburban Cook County (88), and the counties of Carroll (1), DuPage (40), Kane (13), Kankakee (1), Kendall (2), Lake (11), LaSalle (1), Marshall (1), McHenry (1), McLean (1), Peoria (6), Schuyler (1), St. Clair (1), Will (5) and Winnebago (2). Six other West Nile patients have died this year.
West Nile virus 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. Illness from West Nile disease is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as neuroinvasive disease, and death are possible.
Neuroinvasive disease is the most severe form of the West Nile virus and affects a person’s nervous system. Specific types of neuroinvasive disease include: West Nile encephalitis, West Nile meningitis or West Nile meningoencephalitis. Encephalitis refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
The latest counties to report positive West Nile virus activity in animals are Iroquois and Livingston. A blue jay collected Sept. 23 in Watseka by the Ford-Iroquois Public Health Department and a crow collected Oct. 5 in Dwight by the Livingston County Health Department have been determined to be positive for West Nile virus.
In addition to human cases, a total of 227 birds, 2,367 mosquito samples, three horses and one llama from 44 counties have tested positive for West Nile virus since surveillance for the mosquito-borne disease began on May 1.
In 2004, Illinois recorded 60 human cases of West Nile disease, including four deaths, and in 2003, there were 54 human cases, including one death. The state led the nation in 2002 with 884 human cases of West Nile disease and 67 deaths.
Because West Nile virus activity in Culex mosquitoes increases during hot weather, personal protection against mosquitoes is particularly important during August and September. Dr. Whitaker said individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:
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