Illinois now has a human case of West Nile virus. It’s a woman in her 60s in Cook County who became ill earlier this month, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. This is an early result; typically the first human case occurs in August. Last year, there were 34 human cases in Illinois, three of which were fatal.
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In terms of birds, animals and mosquitoes, the disease, now in its 11th year in Illinois, is more widespread. “We have 27 counties in Illinois that to date have tested positive, they have some kind of a West Nile virus positive result, and those numbers are constantly changing. We anticipate seeing more human cases,” says Melaney Arnold, spokesman for the Department of Public Health. The disease is transmitted by mosquitoes, and the kind that carry it – house mosquitoes – are helped, not harmed, by the drought.
Many of those who contract the virus show no symptoms. Those who do have symptoms will experience fever, headache, nausea and muscle aches.One may avoid the disease by avoiding mosquitoes using bug repellant.