SPRINGFIELDTwo new cases of West Nile infection have been identified in Cook and Kankakee counties, bringing to 51 the number of cases of the mosquito-borne disease reported this year in Illinois, State Public Health director Dr. Eric E. Whitaker said last week.
The new cases: A 52-year-old man from suburban Cook County who became ill in mid-September with West Nile fever, was hospitalized and has since been released; and a 66-year-old man from Kankakee County who became ill in late August with West Nile encephalitis and is hospitalized.
Human cases of West Nile disease reported this year have been from the city of Chicago (4), and Adams, Bond, Boone, Clinton (2), suburban Cook (13), DuPage (5), Ford, Fulton, Hancock, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Kane (2), Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle (4), McLean, Rock Island, Sangamon (3), St. Clair (3), Wabash and Will (2) counties.
There have been two deaths associated with West Nile disease this yeara 61-year-old woman from suburban Cook County who died Sept. 23 and a 58-year-old man from DuPage County who died Sept. 1.
In 2003, Illinois recorded 54 West Nile disease human cases, including one death, and in 2002, the state led the nation with 884 cases and 66 deaths.
In addition to the human cases, a total of 227 birds, 1,114 mosquito pools, 11 horses and one alpaca have been identified this year with West Nile virus.
Even though temperatures have cooled recently and mosquitoes have been less active, Dr. Whitaker reminded people to continue to take simple, common-sense precautions to avoid mosquito bites and protect themselves from West Nile disease. Mosquitoes will remain a threat to transmit the disease until a hard frost kills the mosquitoes.
Additional information about West Nile virus can be found at www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm or call (217) 782-5830, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.