Illinois reports first human West Nile virus death of year

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois public health officials say a Kankakee County resident is the first Illinoisan to die from West Nile virus this year in the state.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said Tuesday that the resident tested positive for the disease and died earlier this month. The department says there currently are 37 human cases of the mosquito-borne virus in Illinois. Last year there were 155 human cases including six deaths. This year’s first human case of West Nile reports was reported on July 20.

Related: First West Nile virus positive mosquito reported in Rock Island County in 2017

IDPH director Nirav Shah says West Nile virus is still a concern even though the weather will start to cool soon. He says it’s still important to take precautions, like using insect repellant, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.

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