September 26, 2007
Fourth West Nile death and 13 additional human cases bring the total in Illinois to 48
Two new counties reporting West Nile virus in birds
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting today 14 additional human cases of West Nile virus including a Gallatin County woman in her 80’s who died on September 12. The woman is reported to have become ill in early September. This newly reported case in addition to the 13 cases listed below brings the total this year to 48. Additional cases include:
“We’re experiencing cooler temperatures, but West Nile virus season is not over. Take time to prepare when you go outside to avoid mosquito bites. Wear insect repellent and avoid standing water which is a breeding ground for mosquitoes,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.
There have been four deaths in Illinois related to West Nile virus in 2007.
A total of 39 counties in Illinois have reported mosquito samples, birds or humans positive for West Nile virus, so far this year.
The following county health departments are reporting their first West Nile virus positive samples of this year.
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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