"We continue to see West Nile virus activity across Illinois, but we
are seeing very high infection rates in mosquitoes in the
northeastern part of the state," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Illinois
Department of Public Health director. "Despite cooler temperatures,
the threat of West Nile virus still exists. Senior citizens and
people with weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable and
need to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites by
using insect repellent or staying indoors."
Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting
14 human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois. The first human case
of West Nile virus was reported on Aug. 31 and occurred in a DuPage
County woman in her 50s.
So far this year, 29 counties have reported mosquito batches,
birds or people testing positive for West Nile virus. The first West
Nile virus-positive results this year were reported on May 13 with
two birds, one from Carroll County and the other from St. Clair
In 2009, the Department of Public Health reported the first
positive mosquito samples on June 1 in Cook County. The department
reported the first human case of West Nile virus in 2009 on Aug. 31.
Last year, 36 of the state's 102 counties reported having a West
Nile-positive bird, mosquito sample, horse or human case. Five human
cases of West Nile disease were reported for 2009 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. Most
people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some
may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected
mosquito. The first human case in Illinois is not usually reported
until July or later.
Only about two people in 10 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, but
serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are
People older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe
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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.
outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between
dusk and dawn.
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.
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.
Public health officials believe that a hot summer increases
mosquito activity and the risk of disease from West Nile virus.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the
Illinois Department of Public Health's website at
Illinois Department of Public Health
file received from the
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]