The McHenry County Department of Health has confirmed its first human case of West Nile fever of 2013, which also is the state’s first human case.
The victim is a Fox River Grove woman in her 50s and was diagnosed with the fever. However, she was not hospitalized and has since recovered, according to a MCDH news release.
Last year, McHenry County reported six human cases of West Nile Virus, while one human case was reported in both 2011 and 2010.
This year, nine mosquito batches and six birds have tested positive for WNV in McHenry County, the release states.
The Illinois Health Department recorded 290 human cases in 20 counties in 2012, including 12 deaths, as compared to 34 human cases and three deaths in 2011.
Illness from West Nile virus is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illnesses, such as encephalitis, meningitis and death, are possible.
Illness can occur three to 15 days after an infected mosquito bite. The disease can affect all ages, but persons 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease.
Public health officials continue to urge residents to take precautions as the risk of mosquito-borne WNV lasts until the first hard frost. Mosquitoes transmit the virus to humans after feeding on a bird infected with WNV. The most effective way to prevent against becoming infected with WNV is to follow some basic steps:
- Limit your time outdoors during peak mosquito biting hours which are from dusk to dawn
- When outside (evening and early morning), use repellent and protective clothing such as long-sleeves, long pants and socks.
- Spray clothes with repellent containing DEET for extra protection. Always follow label directions.
- Get rid of standing water around your home where mosquitoes will breed (bird baths, old tires, garbage cans, flower pot trays, wheelbarrows).
- Have tight-fitting screens on both windows and doors; replace screens with tears.
For more information on WNV, visit www.mcdh.info (Environmental Health) or call 815-334-4585.