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Jackson County man is state's second West Nile human case     Send a link to a friend

[JULY 27, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- A 39-year-old Jackson County man has been identified as the state's second human case of West Nile disease this year. Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, made the announcement Monday.

The man, who became ill on June 11 with what has now been diagnosed as West Nile fever, did not require hospital treatment and has since recovered. A blood sample taken July 12 was tested positive for the mosquito-borne disease by the Chicago laboratory of the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Illinois' first case this year -- announced Thursday -- was a 67-year-old man from Jo Daviess County. He was hospitalized with West Nile encephalitis and is now recovering at home.

In 2003, Illinois recorded 54 West Nile human cases, including one death, and in 2002, the state led the nation with 884 human cases and 66 deaths.

Besides reporting the second human case, Dr. Whitaker also announced that mosquitoes collected July 21 in Centralia in Marion County have tested positive for West Nile virus, marking the 36th county this year with a confirmed positive since state and local health departments began surveillance on May 1. A total of 95 birds and 140 mosquito pools have now tested positive for West Nile virus.

Dr. Whitaker said 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.

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  • When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent with DEET according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on young children.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water that can support mosquito breeding, including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old tires and any other receptacles.

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 out of 10 people 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; however, serious illness and death are possible, particularly for people over age 50 or people whose immune system is suppressed.

For additional information about West Nile virus, call (866) 369-9710 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or refer to www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.

[Illinois Department of Public Health
news release]

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