A LaSalle County woman has died as a result of exposure to West Nile Virus, the first human death recorded in 2018.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says the woman was over 65-years-old and tested positive for the virus in the first part of August.
“Although we’re moving toward the end of summer, West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions like using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”
Last year IDPH reported the first human West Nile virus death in Illinois on September 29, 2017. During 2017, there were 90 human West Nile virus cases, including eight deaths. IDPH is currently reporting 22 human cases. West Nile virus positive results in humans, birds, mosquitoes, and/or horses have been reported in 58 counties this year.
West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness.