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Food & Health : Biological Agents Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM


West Nile virus still active, six Illinoisans infected last week
By Sue Mueller
Sep 19, 2007 - 5:55:54 PM

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WEDNESDAY September 19, 2007 (Foodconsumer.org) -- The Illinois Department of Public Health reported today that six more people in the state were diagnosed with mosquito-borne West Nile virus last week, bringing the total to 34 in the state for 2007. The total fatalities for the year were three, which remained unchanged last week.

 

The six new human cases of West Nile virus were reported from Cook County where a women in her 50's became ill in mid-September and a man in his 70's became ill in early September, Dupage County where one man in his 50's became ill in late August and one woman in her 60's became ill in early September, Kane County where a woman in her 40's became ill in early September, and Warren County where a woman in her 30's became ill in late August.

 

The state health agency did not say if they got infected trough a mosquito bite or otherwise.   It is not known whether they have recovered from West Nile virus.

 

It is the first time that Warren County reported any West Nile virus for this year.   West Nile activity was newly reported last week in a horse of Monroe County and in a mosquito sample collected in Rock Island County. So far this year, a total of 37 counties in Illinois have reported mosquito samples, birds or human positive for West Nile virus.

 

Among the total of 37 counties positive for West Nile virus in mosquitoes, birds, or humans, 34 reported early include Jackson, Kane, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Macon, Marion, Macoupin, Madison, McHenry, Mg Bureau, Champaign, Clinton, Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Franklin, Gallorgan, Ogle, Peoria, Pike, Richland, Saline, Sangamon, St. Clair, Tazewell, White, Whiteside, Winnebago, Woodford, McLean, Vermilion, and Will counties.

 

“Summer is winding down but the West Nile virus season is not over so you need to remember to take precautions against mosquito bites, like wearing insect repellent with DEET when you go outside,” said Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, Illinois Department of Public Health Director.

 

Last year 77 of the state’s 102 counties were found to have a West Nile positive bird, mosquito, horse or human case. A total of 215 human cases of West Nile disease, including 10 deaths, were reported last year in Illinois.  

 

"People need to remain vigilant and take preventive measures against mosquito bites," Dr. Whitaker said earlier. "We still may have another month of hot summer temperatures and possibly more warm weather in the fall."  

 

"Senior citizens and those individuals with weak immune systems are especially vulnerable so I want to stress the importance of taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself against mosquito bites," Dr. Whitaker said.  

 

The state health agency says that West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has been infected by feeding on an infected bird. Avoiding mosquito bites is what one needs to do to prevent West Nile virus.

 

Eighty percent of people who are infected do not show any symptoms. But about 20 percent experience symptoms including fever, headache and body aches. In serious cases, the virus results in encephalitis and meningitis and even death.  

 

People who are older than 50 years of age and those whose immune systems are compromised are at the highest risk of severe implications by the West Nile virus.  

 

To avoid mosquitoes, the IDPH suggests the following:  

 

Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.  

 

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.





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