CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the first human West Nile virus-related death in Illinois on Friday.
The Will County resident became sick and tested positive with the virus in late August.READ MORE: City Hall, Chicago FOP File Dueling Lawsuits In Heated Standoff Over Vaccine Mandate
Although summer is over, the department says there is still risk of the virus due to high temperatures this weekend.
“Although we are already into fall, we are expecting a warm weekend and West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike in a statement. “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.”
So far, 40 cases of the virus were reported in Illinois this year. Last year, 42 cases were reported including four deaths.READ MORE: Boy, 15, Shot And Killed In Brainerd
26 counties in Illinois reported a positive case in mosquito batch, bird, horse, or human cases.
The virus is transmitted through a mosquito bite. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Severe cases include meningitis or encephalitis, or even death. Four out five people may not show any signs of the virus. Symptoms may last a few days to a few weeks. People over 50 are at higher risk with the virus.
Residents are told to take precaution using the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.
- REDUCE – Eliminate or refresh each week, all sources of standing water. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.
- REPEL – When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535.
- REPORT – Report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week such as roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes. The local health department or city government may be able to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito larvae.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.