“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
REDUCE exposure - avoid being outdoors when
mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.
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
Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed,
including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, wading pools, old
tires and any other receptacles.
[to top of second column]
REPEL - when outdoors, 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.
REPORT - In communities where there are organized
mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to
report dead birds and 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’s website at
Surveillance numbers are updated every Wednesday afternoon
[ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC
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.