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Tue September 27, 2011

DU PAGE COUNTY -- The death of a Westmont woman in her 70s due to West Nile Virus (WNV) has been confirmed by the DuPage County Health Department. Additional information on the death will not be released due to patient confidentiality restrictions.

In addition to the DuPage County case, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is reporting 10 human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois so far this year, including a Cook County man in his 60s who died earlier this month.   

West Nile Virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has become infected with the virus by feeding on an infected bird; human illness occurs when an infected mosquito bites a person. Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness and never become ill. But some may become ill 3-15 days following a bite.

Symptoms can include fever, headache and body aches. People over the age of 50 and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease or cancer may be more at-risk for meningitis or encephalitis, two life-threatening diseases. But, people of any age can contract West Nile illness.

The Health Department wants to remind residents to ensure they are properly protected:

--Apply mosquito repellent containing 20-35 percent DEET primarily to clothing. Concentrations of 10% or less are indicated for children. Use sparingly on exposed skin.

-- Limit time outdoors when mosquito activity is heaviest (dusk through dawn)

-- Keep skin covered if outdoors between dusk and dawn. Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and socks.

-- Be sure screens in homes are intact and tight fitting to prevent entry of insects.

-- Keep gutters around home cleared of debris and in good repair.

Eliminate any containers that may hold water from around the outside of the home. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

For more information on the DuPage County Health Department, follow us on Twitter @DuPageHD or become a fan on Facebook.


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