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81 year old woman from Lincolnwood is 2nd fatality in suburban Cook

Thursday, September 21, 2006
Cook County Dept. of Public Heatlh

The number of West Nile virus (WNV) cases* in suburban Cook County has risen to 40 as the Cook County Department of Public Health reports the second death from the mosquito-borne illness in suburban Cook County this year. An 81 year-old woman from Lincolnwood was hospitalized on September 13 and died on September 15 from the neuroinvasive form of the disease.   A 90 year-old Schiller Park woman who passed away on August 31 was the first WNV death reported in Cook County.


“We again are saddened by the loss of life from this illness,” said CCDPH chief operating officer, Stephen A. Martin, Jr., Ph.D., M.P.H. “Even with fluctuating temperatures, we are still experiencing some warm weather which in turn brings out mosquitoes. We ask the public to keep protecting themselves with mosquito repellent as the warm days continue.”


This week in 2005 CCDPH was reporting one death and 62 cases. There were a total of 82 cases and five deaths for the entire 2005 WNV season in suburban Cook County.


West Nile virus is spread by the Culex mosquito, or northern house mosquito that becomes infected after biting a bird that harbors the virus; human infection may occur following a bite by an infected mosquito. Most people infected with WNV have no symptoms of illness and never become ill. However, some may become ill 3-15 days after being bitten. Symptoms can include: fever, headache, and body aches. The disease can affect all ages, but people over the age of 50 and those with chronic disease, such as heart disease or cancer may be more at-risk for life-threatening illness such as, meningitis or encephalitis.


CCDPH is asking residents to follow these tips:

·         Check around the outside of your home for containers that could hold water such as garbage cans, buckets, swimming pools, bird baths or pet bowls. Empty the water regularly or make sure the container is covered or turned over.

·         Apply mosquito repellent containing 20-35% DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus, primarily to clothing. Use sparingly on exposed skin. Always follow the directions on the container.  Concentrations of 10% DEET or less are recommended for children.                                                        

·         Limit time outdoors when mosquito activity is heaviest (dusk through dawn). If you must be outside, keep skin covered. 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.

The health department will respond to complaints of poorly maintained swimming pools or water that may be left standing in homeowners’ yards. Residents should call 708-492-2650.


For more WNV information visit these sites:                                                                                                                       

The Illinois Department of Public Health has established a toll-free information line on WNV: 866-369-9710.

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