NewsDesk @bactiman63

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is reporting the first case of West Nile virus infection this year in a Chicago resident. The individual is a male in his mid-60s who resides on the Northwest Side of the city who was hospitalized. For the 2021 season, CDPH reported 13 human cases, and no deaths. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported earlier this week the first human case and first death from West Nile virus in the state of Illinois, in a person in their late 70s from suburban Cook County.

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“The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection is by protecting yourself from mosquito bites,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “You can protect yourself and your family by using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing and eliminating standing water.”

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a Culex pipiens mosquito. It cannot be spread from person to person. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches lasting from a few days to a few weeks, but four out of five people infected with West Nile virus develop no symptoms. In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

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CDPH reminds residents that the most effective ways to prevent mosquito bites include:

  • Use insect repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin, IR3535, or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Eliminate standing water. This includes emptying water from flowerpots, gutters, pool covers, pet water dishes and birdbaths regularly.
  • Keep grass and weeds short to eliminate hiding places for adult mosquitoes.
  • When outside between dusk and dawn, wear loose-fitting, light colored clothing including long pants, long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes.
  • Check that all screens, windows and doors are tight-fitting and free of holes and tears.
  • Check on neighbors regularly who may need additional assistance, including the elderly.