Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) officials launched the West Nile virus (WNV) prevention campaign this week featuring Evergreen Park Mayor, James Sexton. This week, his short prevention message began airing at all movie theaters in suburban Cook County until the end of September.
“Mayor Sexton and his family generously shared their time and their story of his experience with West Nile virus and the importance of prevention,” said CCDPH COO Dr. Terry Mason. “Thankfully, this year we have yet to see a human case of West Nile in suburban Cook County. However, we are seeing an increase in positive mosquito pools and the risk for human transmission is starting to increase so it is the right time to share the Mayor’s prevention message.”
The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with WNV is to follow the 3 R’s:
• Remove standing water around your home
• Repel mosquitoes by applying insect repellent with DEET
• Repair or replace torn screens on doors and windows
Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness and never become ill. But illness can occur 3-15 days after an infected mosquito bite and cause symptoms of fever, headache and body aches. People over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for serious complications from encephalitis or meningitis. For that reason, people who experience high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches, or a stiff neck should see a doctor immediately.
To date, Illinois has reported one confirmed human case of WNV in a Chicago woman. In addition, 36 counties have reported positive birds, mosquitoes or horses. For more infectious disease news and information, visit and “like” the Infectious Disease News Facebook page