Third Case of West Nile Virus Reported in Skokie
The first two human cases reported this year were in Des Plaines and Rolling Meadows.
The third case of human West Nile virus in the state was reported in Skokie last week. The first two cases reported this year were in Des Plaines and Rolling Meadows in July.
A 76-year-old Skokie woman was hospitalized after possibly being bitten by a mosquito in Skokie, the Village of Skokie Health Department confirmed on Friday.
In a press release about the first cases reported in July, the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the first human case of West Nile virus is typically reported in August each year.
In 2011, 34 Illinois residents contracted West Nile virus, and three died, the IDPH stated.
Age is a risk factor for West Nile virus. People over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for complications from encephalitis and meningitis, the most serious manifestations of the disease, according to the Center for Disease Control. The cases reported in Des Plaines and Rolling Meadows were both women in their 60’s.
West Nile virus is a potentially serious illness, transmitted to humans through mosquito bites. Those infected experience severe, mild and no symptoms, according to the CDC. Most people do not exhibit any symptoms.
Symptoms including fever, headache and body aches can occur three to 15 days after an infected mosquito bite, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health.
Severe symptoms can include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis, according to the CDC. Symptoms can last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
Preventative measures include:
- Get rid of standing water around your home in pet bowls, flowerpots, old tires, baby pools and toys. Water allowed to stagnate for three to four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitos.
- Check doors and windows have tightly-fitting screens, and repair tears or other openings.
- Keep gutters clean and free of debris, and weeds and grass cut short.
- Cover skin with lightly-colored, lose-fitting clothing when outdoors between dusk and dawn.
- Use mosquito repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
More about West Nile virus
In 2011, 22 of the 34 West Nile virus cases in Illinois were reported in Cook County, according to data collected by the United States Global Survey. The majority occurred in August and September.
West Nile stays alive in nature when mosquitos feed on dead birds infected with the virus. Horses can also become infected by mosquito bites. No cases of the virus being transmitted from animal to human, or from human to human, have been reported.
Two ways scientists track the virus is by testing pools of water and dead birds.
Mosquito pools in 48 communities throughout suburban Cook County recently tested positive for the virus, according to the CCDPH.
Five of the 22 dead bird infections reported in the state this year, as of July 31, were in Cook County, according to data collected by the United States Global Survey. In 2011 there were 21 dead bird infections found in Illinois; 15 were reported in Cook County.
The CCDPH asks residents to report dead perching birds including blue jays and robins so they can be tested for West Nile virus. Birds can be reported by calling (708) 633-8025.
George Slefo contributed to this report.