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Health Department Confirms Third West Nile Death in DuPage County

The number of West Nile virus cases reported nationwide is at the highest level since 2003.

Officials confirmed Monday a third person has died in DuPage County as a result of contracting West Nile virus.

The DuPage County Health Department reported 25 people have contracted the virus, with three of those cases resulting in deaths.

The confirmed cases of West Nile virus have affected people ranging in age from their 20s to 70s, said David Hass, public information officer for the health department. Those who became ill were located in Addison, Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Villa Park and Westmont. 

As of Sept. 18, there were 94 cases of West Nile virus reported in Illinois, which resulted in three deaths (two in DuPage and one in Kane County), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection. Based on the numbers, this latest death would bring the total number of deaths in Illinois to four.

Through Sept. 18, 48 states reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes. A total of 3,142 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 134 deaths, were reported to CDC. Of these, 1,630 or 52 percent were classified as neuroinvasive disease, which includes illnesses such as meningitis or encephalitis and 1,512 or 48 percent were classified as non-neuroinvasive disease.

The CDC reports the 3,142 cases are the highest number of cases reported through the third week in September since 2003.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has statistics on the number of cases in the state along with other information on the West Nile virus on its website

After being bitten, people typically have symptoms of the virus within three to 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to avoid the risk is to avoid being bitten.

According to the DuPage County Health Department there are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.  People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.  In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.  Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.

Here are tips from the CDC:

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

Read additional stories on West Nile virus:

  • Health Department Confirms Second West Nile Death in DuPage County
  • Cases of West Nile Virus in Chicago's Suburbs
  • CDC: West Nile Virus Cases Highest in Recorded History
  • Health Department: West Nile Virus Widespread in Mosquitoes
  • DuPage County Now Reporting 5 Human Cases of West Nile Virus
  • Health Department: County Entering 'Period of High Risk' for West Nile Virus
  • More West Nile Cases Confirmed in DuPage County; Residents Urged to Take Precautions

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