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Cook County resident dies of West Nile virus

A Cook County resident in their late 70s has died of West Nile virus in the first human case of the mosquito-borne disease reported in Illinois this year, state health officials said Tuesday.

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CHICAGO (AP) — A Cook County resident in their late 70s has died of West Nile virus in the first human case of the mosquito-borne disease reported in Illinois this year, state health officials said Tuesday.

The person became ill at the beginning of August, and laboratory testing at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed West Nile virus was a contributing factor in the death, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced.

“While the weather is warm and mosquitos are breeding, we should all take precautions to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry by wearing insect repellent and eliminating standing water around our homes where mosquitos breed,” department Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said.

During 2021, the department reported 65 human cases, including five deaths.

So far this year, there have been positive mosquito batches in 30 counties, the department said.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a house mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird, the department said. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches lasting from a few days to a few weeks.

Four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms, it said.


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