The man, who had not yet been reported as a case, died Oct. 8 from
other conditions that contributed to his death. In addition, three
new cases have been identified in the state, bringing to 235 the
number of cases reported so far this year in Illinois.
The new cases are:
- A 50-year-old woman from DuPage County with West Nile fever.
- A 37-year-old man from Kane County with West Nile disease.
- A 65-year-old woman from Kane County who was hospitalized
with West Nile neuroinvasive disease and has since been
The state's other cases of West Nile disease have been from
Chicago, 33; suburban Cook County, 96; and the counties of Carroll,
1; Christian, 1; DuPage, 44; Kane, 14; Kankakee, 3; Kendall, 2;
Lake, 11; LaSalle, 1; Marshall, 1; McHenry, 3; McLean, 2; Peoria, 7;
Sangamon, 1; Schuyler, 1; St. Clair, 1; Will, 7; and Winnebago, 2.
Nine West Nile patients have died this year.
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
Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected
mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile disease
is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but
serious illness, such as neuroinvasive disease, and death are
Neuroinvasive disease is the most severe form of the West Nile
virus and affects a person's nervous system. Specific types of
neuroinvasive disease are West Nile encephalitis, West Nile
meningitis and West Nile meningoencephalitis. Encephalitis refers to
an inflammation of the brain; meningitis is an inflammation of the
membrane around the brain and the spinal cord; and
meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the
membrane surrounding it. People older than 50 years of age have the
highest risk of severe disease.
In addition to human cases, a total of 227 birds, 2,386 mosquito
samples, 12 horses and one llama from 50 counties have tested
positive for West Nile virus since surveillance for the
mosquito-borne disease began on May 1.
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In 2004, Illinois recorded 60 human cases of West Nile disease,
including four deaths, and in 2003, there were 54 human cases,
including one death. The state led the nation in 2002 with 884 human
cases of West Nile disease and 67 deaths.
Because West Nile virus activity in
culex mosquitoes increases during hot weather, personal protection
against mosquitoes is particularly important during August and
September. Whitaker said individuals can reduce their risk of West
Nile illness and other mosquito-borne diseases by taking these
- Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active,
especially between dusk and dawn.
- When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants, and a
long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes
DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label
instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on
- 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 that can support mosquito
breeding, including water in birdbaths, ponds, flowerpots, wading
pools, old tires and any other receptacles. 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
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the
Illinois Department of Public Health 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 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Department of Public Health news release]