West Nile

The Illinois Department of Public Health is reporting the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus in Illinois for 2019.

According to a press release, a Chicago resident in his late 70s became ill in late July.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says "although the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois has been reported a little later than we typically see, it is important to remember that there is an on-going risk of disease from a mosquito bite."

In 2018, 74 counties in Illinois reported a West Nile virus positive mosquito batch, bird, horse or human case. In total for the 2018 season IDPH reported 176 human cases, including 17 deaths.

Locally, this year, Kendall County has had no positive mosquito or other animal batches test positive for West Nile. Batches have tested positive in the DuPage County portion of Aurora, in Batavia in Kane County, in Plainfield and Joliet in Will County and in Peru in LaSalle County. There have been no positive batches found in DeKalb County.

Common symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, or even death, can occur.

People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at a high risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

To reduce the risk of catching West Nile virus officials say citizens should make sure doors on homes have tight-fitting screens, use insect repellent when outside and report locations where there is stagnant water for more than a week.