Four new West Nile virus cases reported in Lake County - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

Four new West Nile virus cases reported in Lake County

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LAKE COUNTY, Ill. (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

The number of people with West Nile virus in Lake County now stands at five according to the county's Health Department.

County health officials said Friday four new West Nile cases have been detected. Testing positive recently include a 60-year-old man from Mundelein; a 65-year-old Grayslake woman; a 42-year-old female of Libertyville; and a 69-year-old male from Lake Zurich.

The first case of a Lake County resident testing positive for West Nile this season, a 68-year-old Buffalo Grove man, was reported last month.

While most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus may occasionally cause serious complications.

In some individuals, particularly the elderly, the virus can cause muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.

For much of this summer the health department was tracking ahead of the count in 2005, which saw the greatest number of human cases, bird reports and positive pool reports. That year, 167 mosquito pools, 12 birds and 11 people tested positive for the illness, and one death occurred.

Besides the five human cases so far, there were 81 pools (batches) of mosquitoes and three birds testing positive for the virus. The Health Department is continuing to urge people to take precautions against mosquito bites.

"Although it is September, it is just as important to wear insect repellent now as it was during the summer months," said Irene Pierce, the health department's executive director.

The mosquitoes that carry West Nile are commonly called the house mosquito which breed in quiet pools of water with organic material. During the drought this summer those type of mosquitoes were breeding more successfully than the typical flood water mosquitoes.

To report dead birds, areas of stagnant water (which are conducive for mosquito breeding), or to obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile encephalitis, call the Health Department's West Nile virus hotline at (847) 377-8300.

The Health Department is no longer picking up dead birds, but is mapping their locations to help determine areas of high West Nile virus activity. To dispose of a dead bird place it in a plastic bag and put it in your garbage bin.

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