The Cook County Department of Public Health has reported the first fatality of 2013 in suburban Cook County from West Nile virus.
The department released the following statement:
Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials report the first West Nile virus fatality in suburban Cook County. A 67 year old man from Cicero, IL died recently after contracting WNV while suffering from multiple underlying health conditions.
To date, Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials report one death, two human cases, 269 mosquito pools and five birds with West Nile virus (WNV) throughout suburban Cook County. These numbers do NOT include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Stickney Township or Oak Park – these communities have their own state certified local public health departments.
“We are seeing fewer hot, dry days but there continues to be an increased risk for infection of the virus and residents still need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites,” said CCDPH chief operating officer, Terry Mason, MD, FACS. “Even if it feels a little cooler outside, residents should continue to use mosquito repellant with DEET anytime they have to be outside between dusk and dawn.”
The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with WNV is to follow some basic steps:
· Reduce exposure to WNV by removing standing water around your home in pet bowls, flower pots, old tires, baby pools and toys. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
· Make sure your doors and windows have tightly fitting screens and repair any tears or other openings.
· Keep weeds and grass cut short and keep gutters clean and free of debris.
· Repel misquotes when outdoors between dusk and dawn, cover skin with lightly colored lose fitting clothing and use mosquito repellent with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Always follow the directions on the label.
Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness and never become ill. But illness can occur 3-15 days after an infected mosquito bite and cause symptoms of fever, headache and body aches. The disease can affect all ages, but people over the age of 50 and those with a chronic disease, such as heart disease or cancer may be at-risk for serious complications from encephalitis or meningitis. For that reason, people who experience high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, or a stiff neck should see a doctor immediately.
For more information, please visit, www.cookcountypublichealth.org.