Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
 August 26, 2013
CONTACT:
Melaney Arnold (217) 558-0500
 
www.idph.state.il.us

Central Illinois Reports its First Human West Nile Virus Positive Case for 2013

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first human West Nile virus case reported in central Illinois for 2013. The Tazewell County Health Department reported a man in his 50's became ill earlier this month.

"We are seeing high temperatures and dry weather, which are the perfect conditions for creating mosquito breeding grounds," said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. "The mosquitoes that typically carry West Nile virus breed in stagnant water water left sitting in storm drains or in containers around the outside of your home. So dump out those containers and take other precautions against mosquito bites, like wearing insect repellent."

To date, West Nile virus positive birds, mosquitoes and/or human cases have been reported in 52 counties. The first human case this year was reported on Wednesday, August 21st in a McHenry County woman in her 50s. Last year the first human case was reported July 24, 2012.

For the 2012 season, IDPH reported the second highest number of West Nile virus human cases in state history with 290 residents and 12 deaths. So far this year, two human cases have been reported and no deaths.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

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 practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel and report.

  • REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
    • 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 where mosquitoes can breed, including flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles. Change water in bird baths weekly.
  • REPEL - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • REPORT - 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 Illinois Department of Public Health’s Web site at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. Surveillance numbers are updated every Wednesday afternoon http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnvsurveillance13.htm.

 
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