October 31, 2007
8 additional human cases of West Nile virus bring the total in Illinois to 93
No new counties reporting West Nile virus in animals and insects
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting today eight additional human cases of West Nile virus bringing this year’s total in Illinois to 93. Additional cases include:
“The cooler temperatures do not mean that mosquitoes are gone for the season. Mosquitoes are still present until we experience consistent freezing temperatures,” said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director. We’re still seeing cases of people with West Nile and urge everyone to remain cautious and avoid mosquito bites.”
There were 215 human cases of West Nile virus reported last year to the Illinois Department of Public Health compared with 93 human cases so far this year. There have also been four deaths in Illinois during 2007.
A total of 46 counties in Illinois have reported mosquito samples, birds, horses or humans positive for West Nile virus, so far this year.
Williamson County is reporting its first West Nile virus positive 2007 with the human case listed above.
In 2006, the first positive mosquito sample was reported May 24th in DuPage County and the first human case was reported August 1 in St. Clair County. Last year 77 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 215 human cases of West Nile disease, including 10 deaths, were reported last year in Illinois.
Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois began May 1st and includes laboratory tests on mosquitoes, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds as well as the testing of sick horses and humans with West Nile-like disease symptoms. Citizens who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird is to be picked up for testing.
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 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 best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or people can call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.
The Illinois Department of Public Health will send news releases updating West Nile virus activity in the state every Wednesday during the season. Updates throughout the week can be found on the Department Web site.
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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