Elgin man dies of West Nile, Illinois' second case this year - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Elgin man dies of West Nile, Illinois' second case this year

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ELGIN, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

In what the Centers for Disease Control is calling the worst summer for West Nile Virus outbreaks since the disease was first identified in the U.S. in 1999, Kane County has seen its first case, and first death, from the illness this year. The death of the 64-year-old Elgin man is the second in Illinois this year from West Nile.

The Kane County Health Department announced Thursday that health officials have confirmed the man died last week after contracting the disease.

Officials did not release the man's name or where he was treated. Chris Hoff, a spokesman with the health department, said the man had been sick for about a week before his death.

His is the second death this year in Illlinois from West Nile. Lombard Village President William Mueller, 76, who died Saturday, as the first victim in 2012.

Hoff said the health department is focusing on education about the disease and how to prevent infection in the wake of the county's first case in 2012.

"We need help tackling this issue. If people have standing water in their yards, dump bird baths, pools — take responsibility in their own yards, too, to keep the spread down," Hoff said.

Just because this summer has seen scant rain up until the past few weeks does not mean the Culex mosquito is not breeding.

The hot and dry summer has been the "perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus," the health department said in a press release.

"It is likely we will see more activity before the season is over," the release said.

Tests this summer have indicated the illness has been present in mosquitoes and birds here.

According to the health department's website, 218 mosquito traps in Kane County have collected 7,844 female Culex mosquitoes, which transmit the disease. Of those test sites so far this year, 41 have tested positive with 10 community areas showing positive mosquito pools — Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, Elburn, Elgin, Gilberts and Montgomery.

The disease is carried by birds. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

According to the CDC, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes this year. A total of 1,118 human West Nile cases have been reported to CDC, including 41 deaths.

"The 1,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC … since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999," according to the agency's website.

Most of those cases — about 75 percent — have been reported from just five states, including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Half of those cases have been in Texas, according to the CDC.

Related stories:

West Nile prevention: Health Department sprays South Side

DuPage County reports first human West Nile case this year

Six West Nile virus cases reported in Illinois

 

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