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Update: 17 Human Cases of West Nile Virus in DuPage County

Two of the 17 cases of West Nile Virus have resulted in deaths in DuPage County.

The DuPage County Health Department announced on Monday that there are now 17 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) in DuPage County. Those affected by WNV are in their 20s-70s, and are located in Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Villa Park and Westmont.  Two of those 17 cases resulted in fatalities related to WNV infection.

On Aug. 18, Lombard Village President Bill Mueller, 76, became the first West Nile fatality in DuPage County. A 64-year-old man from Elgin also succumbed to the disease on Aug. 23.

The Centers for Disease Control announced in August that this summer's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in United States history. In Illinois, health officials have warned residents of the high risk for infection from the virus after the warm, dry temperatures created a perfect breeding environment for the Culex mosquito, the main transmitter of the virus to humans.

According to health officials, the virus can be prevented by:

  • Using insect repellents when you go outdoors. 
  • Wearing long sleeves and pants from dusk to dawn.
  • Installing or repairing screens on windows and door, and using air conditioning, if you have it.
  • Emptying standing water from items outside your home such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.

Approximately one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash, according to press release from the DuPage County Health Department. 

Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues), officials said.  

People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions—such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants—are at greater risk for serious illness, according to the release.

There are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, West Nile virus infection. Individuals with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, but more severe cases often require hospitalization.

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