1st human case of West Nile reported in IL for 2018

ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the first confirmed case of West Nile virus in the state for 2018.

According to the department, a Chicago resident in her 60s became ill in mid-May.

In 2017, 63 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. For the entire season, IDPH reported 90 human cases, including eight deaths.

According to the department of health, while there were 90 human cases, those are unreported.

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West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of Culex pipiens mosquito, commonly called a house mosquito, which picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

Common 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 will not show any symptoms.

In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile.

According to the department of health, some precautions to "fight the bite" include practicing the three "R's."

  • Reduce - 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
  • Repel - when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535 according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
  • Report - report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs.

Anyone who sees a sick or dying cow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

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