Press Release

August 22, 2006


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

Carroll, Logan, Menard, Montgomery and Perry counties - newest counties reporting West Nile virus positive birds and mosquito samples

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To date the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has reports of fifteen human cases of West Nile virus across the state. The DuPage County Health Department reported a woman in her 70’s with neuroinvasive disease. There are nine cases of neuroinvasive disease in Cook County ranging from a 10-year-old boy to a woman in her 80’s. Crawford County reported a man in his 50’s with neuroinvasive disease and Kane County reported a woman in her 70’s with the disease. A St. Clair County women in her 30’s was diagnosed with neuroinvasive disease while the first West Nile virus case in Illinois this year was a St. Clair County man in his 60’s with West Nile fever. Will County is also reporting a man in his 60’s with neuroinvasive disease.

“Human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois this year are spanning all ages so everyone needs to take precautions when going outside, although most serious effects are seen in the elderly,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. “We are seeing West Nile virus activity in mosquitoes this year that approaches levels seen during 2002 when Illinois led the nation in cases. This fact should serve as a warning to people to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”

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 Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) was notified by the Carroll County Health Department of the findings as part of its routine surveillance for West Nile virus. The positive Crow was collected on August 9 in Mt. Carroll. The Logan County Health Department reported a positive Blue Jay collected on August 16 in Lincoln and the Menard County Health Department reported a Blue Jay testing positive for West Nile Virus collected on August 6 in Petersburg. A mosquito sample collected on August 18 in Hillsboro was reported by the Montgomery County Health Department and IDPH collected a positive mosquito sample on August 19 in Tamara in Perry County.

To date, 58 counties out of 102 have reported positive test results for West Nile virus in mosquitoes and birds. A list of those counties can be found on the IDPH website.

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.

idph online home
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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