Illinois has recorded its first two human cases of West Nile virus in 2012 from the central part of the state – a man and a woman in Peoria. Of the state’s 94 human cases this year, all but three are in Northern Illinois. Melaney Arnold, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, says it’s hard to say what a typical year would be, with 34 human West Nile cases last year and more than 200 other years.
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Three cases in Illinois, all in Northern Illinois, have been fatal. Arnold says West Nile virus can easily be mistaken for a cold or the flu. “The symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, or some muscle aches. You may want to go to your health care provider … especially if you have been bitten by a mosquito.” Arnold says it is neither too late in the year nor too cool to catch the illness; it’s still summer for another week. The tips for avoiding West Nile virus include wearing long sleeves and pants if you are outside between dusk and dawn, using insect repellent, and getting rid of standing water on your property.