IDPH reports first 2021 human death in Illinois for West Nile virus

A Will County resident died from the virus after testing positive for it last month
Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 2:52 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WIFR) - The first death in Illinois for 2021 from the West Nile virus has been reported, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

A Will County resident died from the virus after testing positive for it in August.

“Although we are already into fall, we are expecting a warm weekend and West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike says.  “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”

40 residents have tested positive for the West Nile virus in Illinois this year. In 2020, 42 cases and three deaths were reported from humans, birds, mosquitos and horses.

The virus can be passed on from a mosquito bite. Symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks and may include nausea, headaches, muscle aches and a fever.

Health experts say the three “R’s” can help stop transmission of the virus:

REDUCE: eliminate or refresh all standing water sources weekly. Broken screens should also be repaired.

REPEL: Wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt when outside and use bug spray that has DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535.

REPORT: Any sight of stagnant water for more than a week should be reported. This can be in places like flooded yards and other areas that attract mosquitoes.

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