Just days after reporting the first human case of West Nile virus in DuPage County, a Villa Park man was the second person diagnosed with the virus.
Earlier this week, the DuPage County Health Department reported a Downers Grove woman in her 50s was the first person diagnosed with the virus in the county. Thursday, the health department said a man, also in his 50s, has the virus.
The health department is encouraging residents to take precautions against the bites, since the number of mosquitoes infected with the virus is high this year.
Hot and dry weather conditions created a perfect breeding ground for the Culex mosquitoes that are the main carriers of the virus.
People over the age of 50 and those with medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, have a greater risk for serious illness from the virus.
About one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, the DuPage County Health Department said.
While the first human case of the West Nile virus was only reported Tuesday, the DuPage County Health Department has said that at this time last year there was only one positive test for West Nile virus in mosquitoes trapped in the county, according to a news release from the DuPage County Health Department. So far this summer, the department reports 89 mosquito pools, including those in Elmhurst, have tested positive for the virus.
The first positive test in a mosquito was reported on May 18 this year, compared to July 15 last year, the department said in a news release issued last week.
While DuPage County has only verified two human cases diagnosed this year, in other parts of the country the virus is taking a toll.
A total of 693 cases of West Nile virus in people, including 26 deaths, have been reported nationally, the highest number of cases reported through the second week in August since West Nile was first detected in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control. More than 80 percent of the cases have been reported from six states: Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota and California.
Texas is experiencing the largest number of West Nile virus infections, with more than 450 people infected and 17 deaths in 2012, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The number of cases in Illinois is expected to rise as more reports are received and confirmed, according to the DuPage County Health Department. Statewide, 2012 human case data, including cases by county, are available on the Illinois Department of Public Health West Nile virus website.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease is to avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if you have it.
- Empty standing water from items outside your home such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.