KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department recently reported four more cases of West Nile Virus, bringing the total so far this season to nine.
The most recent cases are a 67-year-old man and 61-year-old man, both from Elgin; a 50-year-old St. Charles man and a 59-year-old Geneva man. The Health Department will report new cases once a week on Wednesdays until the end of the West Nile season, which ends with the first hard frost of the year.
Other cases this year include a 71-year-old man from Aurora, a 61-year-old Geneva woman, a 70-year-old Aurora man, 16-year-old Batavia girl, and a 64-year-old Elgin man, who died in August.
This summer was hot and dry—the perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus. West Nile Virus will likely continue to see activity until the season is over. The Health Department monitors for WNV activity in your area and throughout the county. You can visit www.kanehealth.com/wnv_surveillance.htm to view a map of the trap locations throughout the county, as well as other surveillance activities. Surveillance updates are posted once a week.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some may become ill three to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Only about two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death are possible. Persons older than 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease.
The best way to prevent West Nile disease or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and to take personal precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Precautions include:
• Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn. Use prevention methods whenever mosquitoes are present.
• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.
• 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, especially at night.
• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the Kane County Health Department’s website, www.kanehealth.com/ west_nile.htm, or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website, www.idph.state.il.us/ envhealth/wnv.htm. People also can call the IDPH West Nile Virus Hotline at (866) 369-9710, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.