The effects of West Nile virus are rather late-arriving in Illinois this year, but they are here. The Illinois Department of Public Health reports a McHenry County woman in her fifties reported symptoms of the mosquito-borne illness earlier this month. Other details about her case are not being released. She is the first human case reported in 2013. Almost 300 Illinoisans were reported infected last year, and twelve died.
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Symptoms include a fever and aches, but – especially in those older than fifty and in those with weakened immune systems – it can lead to meningitis or encephalitis. “We normally start seeing human cases at the end of July or first part of August,” says IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold, “so we're just a little bit behind what we normally see.”
The normal precautions apply: avoid mosquitoes and empty standing water from tires, garbage can lids, etc.