Illinois Sees First West Nile Death

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (KMOX) — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting the first West Nile virus related death in Illinois for 2011.

A Cook County man in his 60s, who had underlying health conditions, was diagnosed with West Nile virus in August and died earlier this month.

“Although temperatures have been cooler recently, we continue to see West Nile virus activity across Illinois,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Damon T. Arnold. “People need to continue to protect themselves against mosquito bites by using insect repellent or staying indoors.”

Currently, the Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting eight human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois. The first human cases of West Nile virus were reported on August 19 and occurred in a Cook County man in his 80s and a Franklin County man in his 30s.

This year, Missouri has reported only one positive human case of the West Nile virus. The St. Louis County Health Department announced earlier this month that a 12-year-old Wellston boy was briefly hospitalized after catching the virus. He has since recovered.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Common West Nile virus symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

Copyright KMOX Radio


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