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West Nile virus claims another life in Illinois          Send a link to a friend

Piatt County -- newest county with positive bird sample

[SEPT. 22, 2006]  SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Department of Public Health has received a report of another death from West Nile. A Cook County woman in her 80s, who was previously reported as having neuroinvasive disease, has died.

Eight other people in Illinois have died this year from West Nile virus.
  • Bond County man in his 80s

  • Chicago woman in her 80s

  • Cook County woman in her 90s

  • DuPage County man in his 70s

  • DuPage County woman in her 60s

  • DuPage County woman in her 80s

  • Sangamon County man in his 90s

  • Will County man in his 80s

Eleven new cases of West Nile virus have been reported to the Department of Public Health, bringing the total this year to 161.

  • Chicago man in his 50s with West Nile fever

  • Chicago man in his 60s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Cook County man in his 50s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Cook County man in his 70s with neuroinvasive disease

  • DuPage County man in his 30s with West Nile fever

  • DuPage County man in his 80s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Effingham County man in his 50s with neuroinvasive disease

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

  • McLean County man in his 30s with neuroinvasive disease

  • McLean County woman in her 50s with neuroinvasive disease

  • Will County woman in her 60s with West Nile fever

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

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.

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.

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Piatt is the newest county reporting a positive West Nile bird sample. The DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department reported a positive blue jay collected on Sept. 13 in LaPlace.

As of Thursday, 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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