The first death related to West Nile Virus in 2013 has been reported in Illinois.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), an elderly resident of Logan County, central Illinois, has died after being stricken with West Nile Virus in mid-August.
IDPH said they are still conducting West Nile virus confirmatory testing for the case. The positive result came from a private laboratory, according to the Macon County Health Department.
Also, the IDPH confirmed that a teen in southern Illinois has tested positive for West Nile Virus, after becoming ill, also in mid-August.
IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said the first West Nile related death happened later in 2013 than usual. In 2012 the first death was reported on August 20.
“Even with the cooler temperatures, until the first hard freeze, you still need to protect yourself against mosquito bites and possible West Nile virus infection,” Hasbrouck said.
West Nile virus is transmitted through a mosquito bite from a mosquito that has picked up the virus after feeding on an infected bird. The IDPH said symptoms of the virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. These symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks, but four out of five infected people show no symptoms. In rare cases severe illness like meningitis, encephalitis, or death can occur. People over 50-years-old are at a higher risk for the virus.
The IDPH reported that 57 Illinois counties have birds, mosquitoes, and or people that have tested positive for West Nile virus. Nine human cases have been reported in Illinois so far in 2013, the first was a woman in her 50s reported on August 21. The department also reported that in 2012, Illinois saw the second highest number of West Nile cases in state history. They recorded 290 residents who became ill with West Nile and 12 related deaths.
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