August 23, 2005
FOUR NEW CASES OF WEST NILE VIRUS CONFIRMED
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced four new West Nile disease cases have been identified in Illinois, bringing to 33 the number of cases reported so far this year in the state.
The new cases are:
There have been 15 other cases of West Nile disease this year in suburban Cook County, two others in DuPage County and three others in Kane County. The state’s other cases of West Nile disease have been from Chicago (7) and Peoria (1) and Will (1) counties.
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 encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
A total of 33 humans, 150 birds, 1,169 mosquito samples, one horse and one llama from 33 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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