August 24, 2005
IN SUBURBAN COOK COUNTY
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, today announced three new West Nile disease cases have been identified in suburban Cook County, bringing to 36 the number of cases reported so far this year in the state.
The new cases are:
There have been 17 other cases of West Nile disease this year in suburban Cook County. The state’s other cases of West Nile disease have been from Chicago (7) and DuPage (3), Kane (4), 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.
The latest counties to report positive West Nile virus activity are Bureau and Tazewell. A mosquito sample collected Tuesday in Princeton by the Bureau County Health Department and mosquito samples collected Aug. 15 in Pekin, and Aug. 15 and Aug. 19 in East Peoria by the Tazewell County Health Department were determined to be positive.
A total of 36 humans, 150 birds, 1,215 mosquito samples, one horse and one llama from 35 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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