West Nile death reported in Illinois

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An Illinois man diagnosed with West Nile Virus died over the weekend of August 18 and 19, 2012.

The man is the first person to die from West Nile Virus in Illinois in 2012.  The man was from DuPage County in southern Illinois.  He was in his 70s and had underlying health conditions.

State health officials say people over 50 years of age are more likely to suffer serious if they contract West Nile Virus.

Four out of every five people with West Nile Virus show no symptoms at all.

Symptoms typically include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms can last for a few days or a few weeks.

There have been 21 West Nile Virus cases diagnosed in Illinois this year.   There were 34 cases diagnosed in the state in all of 2011.  The first Illinois case of 2012 was diagnosed July 24, one month earlier than usual. 

West Nile Virus has also been found in Iowa. 

There were 693 cases diagnosed nationally through the second week of August.  That’s more cases for that time period than in any year since West Nile was first detected in 1999. 

West Nile Virus is transmitted by mosquitoes that bite an infected bird.  Using insect repellant and avoiding areas where mosquitoes breed can help reduce your exposure to the disease. 

More information is available online at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm