Press Release

August 15, 2006


Three human cases of West Nile virus reported in Illinois this year

Jo Daviess, Morgan, Ogle and Woodford - newest counties reporting West Nile virus positive birds

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A Cook County woman in her 70’s is the third person in Illinois to be diagnosed with West Nile virus this year. The woman became sick with neuroinvasive disease in late July and is recovering. Another Cook County Woman in her 80’s was reported having West Nile virus on August 11 after becoming ill in July with neuroinvasive disease. A St. Clair County man in his 60’s who became ill in July after contracting West Nile fever was reported on August 1 as the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois.

“There is a greater risk of humans contracting West Nile virus when 10 percent or more of the mosquito samples collected test positive for the illness. Since August 1, approximately 30 percent of mosquito samples collected are testing positive. This West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes approaches that seen during 2002 when Illinois led the nation in cases. Consequently, citizens should be diligent about using insect repellent when they are outdoors in the evening,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.

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 Jo Daviess County Health Department reported a Blue Jay collect on August 9 in Stockton tested positive for West Nile virus. The Morgan County Health Department reported a Blue Jay collected on August 8 in Murrayville tested positive. The Ogle County Health Department reported a House Finch collected in Davis Junction on August 10 tested positive and the Woodford County Health Department reported a Crow collected in Metamora on August 10 test positive for West Nile virus.

So far this year, West Nile virus in mosquitoes have been found in Adams, Bond, Bureau, Champaign, Christian, Cook, DuPage, Ford, Franklin, Iroquois, Jackson, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Macon, Macoupin, Marion, McHenry, McLean, Peoria, Putnam, Saline, Sangamon, Stephenson, St. Clair, Whiteside, Will, Williamson and Winnebago counties. Positive samples in birds have been found in Adams, Bond, Boone, Champaign, Clinton, Coles, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, DuPage, Effingham, Ford, Franklin, Gallatin, Grundy, Hancock, Henry, Iroquois, Jo Daviess, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Macon, Macoupin, Madison, McHenry, McLean, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Sangamon, Scott, Stephenson, Tazewell, Vermilion, Whiteside, Will, Williamson, Winnebago and Woodford counties.

To date, 52 counties out of 102 have reported positive test results for West Nile virus in mosquitoes and birds.

In 2005, Illinois recorded 252 human cases, of West Nile disease, including 12 deaths.

Individuals can reduce their risk of West Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these precautions:

  • Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.

  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web site at or people can call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

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idph online home

Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
Phone 217-782-4977
Fax 217-782-3987
TTY 800-547-0466
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