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West Nile virus claims two more lives

McDonough County -- newest county with positive bird sample

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[SEPT. 20, 2006]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has received reports of two more deaths from West Nile. A DuPage County man in his 70s who was previously reported ill died due to neuroinvasive disease, and a DuPage County woman in her 60s died of complications from West Nile.

Six other people also have died this year from West Nile virus: a woman in her 80s from Chicago, a man in his 60s from Will County, a man in his 80s from Bond County, a woman in her 90s from Cook County, a DuPage County woman in her 80s and a Sangamon County man in his 90s.

Fifteen new cases of West Nile virus have been reported to the Department of Public Health, bringing the total this year to 150. (The DuPage County woman in her 60s who died is also a newly reported case.) Other new cases include:

  • Chicago woman in her 50s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Cook County woman in her 30s with West Nile fever

  • Cook County man in his 50s with West Nile disease

  • Cook County man in his 60s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Cook County man in his 70s with West Nile fever

  • DuPage County woman in her 40s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Jefferson County man in his 70s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Kane County woman in her 20s with West Nile disease

  • Kendall County man in his 50s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Kendall County man in his 60s with West Nile fever

  • Lake County man in his 40s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Will County woman in her 30s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Will County woman in her 40s with West Nile fever

  • Will County woman in her 40s with neuroinvasive disease

"Despite cooler temperatures, the West Nile season is not over," said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director. "Mosquitoes are still about, and everyone should protect themselves from being bitten."

Only about two out of 10 people 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 encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. People older than 50 have the highest risk of severe disease.

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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.

McDonough is the newest county reporting a positive West Nile bird sample. On Sept. 7, the McDonough County Health Department reported that a positive house finch was collected in Macomb.

As of Tuesday, 83 counties out of 102 had reported positive test results for West Nile virus in mosquitoes, birds and horses. A list of those counties is available on the Department of Public Health website.

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.

  • 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 infants.

  • 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 mosquitoes.

For additional information about West Nile virus, call the West Nile Virus Hotline at 866-369-9710 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or visit

[Illinois Department of Public Health news release]


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