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General Health : Infectious Disease Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

West Nile virus found in two Illinoisans, 236 Americans so far this year
By Sue Mueller
Aug 26, 2008 - 6:18:55 AM

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Mosquito. Credit: IDPH
TUESDAY August 26, 2008 ( -- 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 2008.


A Montgomery County woman in her 80s showed symptoms of West Nile virus near the end of July.   The 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 Mississippi.   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.


    * When 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 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.

© 2004-2008 by unless otherwise specified

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