Daily Journal staff report
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health has confirmed the first human West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2020. A Chicago resident who became ill in mid-September and tested positive for West Nile virus has died.
“Although we are already into fall, West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”
Currently, 24 human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in Illinois.
In September, the Kankakee County Health Department confirmed that a pool of mosquitoes collected from a trap in Bourbonnais had tested positive for West Nile virus.
Last year, IDPH reported 28 human cases (although human cases are under reported), including one death. In 2019, 46 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird, horse, and-or human case.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms might 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 and immuno-compromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness.
Precautions reducing sources of standing water, using insect repellents when outdoors and report locations of stagnant water.
For more information, visit dph.illinois.gov.