TUESDAY August 26, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- Illinois
Department of Public Health (IDPH) On August 19, 2008 confirmed the first human
West Nile virus case reported in central Illinois for the season of the year
A Montgomery County woman in her 80s showed symptoms of West
Nile virus near the end of July.
first case for the year was reported in Kane on Aug. 11.
The Kane County Health Department reported early a woman
in her 20s with onset of illness in late July. The woman had recently traveled
so the infection could have been acquired in Illinois or other states.
"This is the time of the year when the number of
human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois increases rapidly. You can easily
avoid getting sick by wearing insect repellent and trying to reduce any
standing water around your homes," said Dr. Damon T. Arnold, Director of the
Illinois Department of Public Health.
Montgomery County is one of 14 counties where West Nile
virus has been found in mosquitoes, birds, horses or humans. The other counties
include Adams, Cook, DuPage, Gallatin, Jackson, Kane, Lee, Macon, Madison, St.
Clair, Tazewell, Whiteside and Winnebago.
Last year, a total of 101 people in the state were
diagnosed with West Nile disease and four died from the virus.
In the same year, 46 of the state's 102
counties reported West Nile activity in birds, mosquitoes, horses or humans.
As of August 19 this year, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention has received reports of 236 cases of West Nile virus
including two deaths from the infection, one in Arizona and the other in
The real number can be much
higher because the state and local governments need some time to file reports
to the agency.
"Of the 236 cases, 97 (41%) were reported as West
Nile meningitis or encephalitis (neuroinvasive disease), 129 (55%) were
reported as West Nile fever (milder disease), and 10 (4%) were clinically unspecified
at this time," the CDC states.
The West Nile cases were reported Alabama (1), Arizona
(5), Arkansas (4), California (73), Colorado (20), Connecticut (1), Idaho (8),
Iowa (1), Louisiana (6), Michigan (1), Minnesota (10), Mississippi (33), Missouri
(3), Nebraska (2), Nevada (2), New York (2), North Dakota (14), Ohio (1),
Oklahoma (5), Oregon (3), Pennsylvania (1), South Dakota (14), Tennessee (6),
Texas (14), Utah (2), West Virginia (1), Wisconsin (1) and Wyoming (1).
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an
infected mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Most people with the virus show no clinical symptoms of
illness, but some may become ill three to 15 days after getting infected after
a bite of an infected mosquito. An estimated 20 perent of infected people
experience any illness, according to the (IDPH).
Symptoms of West Nile virus are usually mild including
fever, headache and body aches. In serious cases, the illness can lead to
encephalitis and meningitis or death.
The Illinois state suggests the following measures to
protect against 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:
* Avoid being
outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use
prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply
insect repellent that includes 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
* 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
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