According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), a resident of Chicago has been confirmed as the first person in Illinois this year to have contracted West Nile Virus.
The IDPH reported this recipient as a woman in her 60s, who contracted the virus and became sick in mid-May.
Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, released the following statement concerning the issue: “West Nile virus can cause serious illness in some people so it’s important that you take precautions like wearing insect repellent and getting rid of stagnant water around your home.”
Taking all preventative measures to avoid contracting this virus is necessary.
There is no current vaccine or antiviral treatment for the West Nile Virus, and people with weak immune systems, health conditions, and people older than 60 could be at a higher risk for severe illness if they contract the virus.
All these cause concern and reason for preventative measures.
In mid-June, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced its first West Nile virus cases; which is concerning compared to July 20th being the first reported case of WNV in 2017.
West Nile Virus is being reported earlier this year than last year, and in 2017 we saw 2,002 reported cases composing 121 deaths across the United States.
CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith added to her belief that the cases will increase, and precautions remain important with her statement, “West Nile virus activity in the state is increasing, so I urge Californians to take every possible precaution to protect against mosquito bites.”
According to data supported by the CDC, this virus was found in 47 states and the District of Columbia in 2017, with the highest number of cases and deaths reported in California, Texas and Arizona.
Illinois ranked fourth, followed by South Dakota, Nebraska, Mississippi, Utah and New York respectively.
These are populous states with high potential to spread the disease.
The Culex Pipiens mosquito, also known as the house mosquito, is the main culprit spreading this disease, according to the IDPH.
One out of five people infected with this virus could experience symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, headache and nausea for a few weeks or months.
According to the IDPH, in rare severe case, the symptoms are meningitis, encephalitis, or even death.
This is a disease that can be prevented by using an EPA registered, IR3535 insect repellent to avoid bites from disease carrying insects.