First West Nile Virus Related Deaths Reported in Illinois
Cooler temperatures do not mean we’re out of the woods yet
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the first West Nile virus related deaths in Illinois for 2014. Two residents in northern Illinois who became ill with West Nile virus in late-August and early September have died.
“Although we’ve seen a cooler and wetter summer, which has resulted in less West Nile virus activity, these deaths show the virus is circulating and can cause death,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck. “Even with the cooler temperatures we’re seeing now, until the first hard freeze, you still need to protect yourself against mosquito bites and possible West Nile virus infection.”
To date, West Nile virus positive birds, mosquitoes and/or human cases have been reported in 47 counties. The first human case this year was reported on August 8th in a Cook County man in his 30s. So far this year, 15 human cases have been reported.
For the 2013 season, 117 residents were diagnosed with West Nile virus and 11 people died. Last year the first death was reported September 13, 2013.
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.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm. Surveillance numbers are updated every Wednesday afternoon http://www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnvsurveillance14.htm.
IDPH continues to implement its
Five Year Strategy 2014-2018 to maximize IDPH’s effectiveness,
influence and value for promoting wellness, health equity, safety
and improved health outcomes. Strategic plan priorities include
developing and expanding partnerships; improving data utilization;
reducing health disparities; improving regulatory compliance; and
branding, marketing and communicating IDPH’s value.
Illinois Department of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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