Death of 64-year-old man is Kane County’s first case of West Nile

By on September 1, 2012

KANE COUNTY—The Kane County Health Department announced today that a 64-year-old Elgin man with West Nile Virus died last week. Not only is this the first death in Kane County this year attributable to West Nile, it is the first human case in the county.

This summer has been hot and dry—the perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus. It is likely we will see more activity before 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.

In 2011, Kane County reported one human case and five cases in 2010. In 2009, an unusually mild summer with cool temperatures, there were no human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Kane County. There were three cases of the virus reported in 2008. In 2007 there were 13, four in 2006, 17 in 2005, two in 2004, none in 2003 and nine in 2002. This is the fourth death attributable to West Nile Virus in Kane County since 2002. In addition to this year, there also was one in 2010, one in 2008 and one in 2002. More West Nile information can be found at http://kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm.

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 persons 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 and 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 at www.kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm or the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website at 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.