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October 19, 2006

7 new cases of West Nile in Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has received reports of seven new cases of West Nile virus which brings the total West Nile disease cases to 202.
The latest reported cases are:

• Chicago man in his 20’s with West Nile Fever
• Christian County man in his 90’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• DuPage County woman in her 50’s with West Nile Fever
• Dupage County man in his 60’s with Neuroinvasive Disease
• Franklin County woman in her 50’s with West Nile Fever
• Henry County man in his 70’s with West Nile Fever
• Madison County female teen with West Nile Fever

Only about two out of 10 people infected by a mosquito bite will show symptoms.  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.  Persons older than 50 years of age 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. 

To date, 75 counties out of 102 have reported positive test results for West Nile virus in humans, mosquitoes, birds and horses.

“Temperatures are dropping, but until we see consistent freezing temps mosquitoes can survive,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director.  “We usually have to see some consistent cold temperatures before the threat of outdoor mosquitoes is ruled out.  Be cautious of indoor mosquitoes that are able to survive in warm insulated areas.”

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 bird baths, 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.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Department’s Web 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 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


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