A Kankakee County resident has died of West Nile virus, the first Illinois resident to die of the mosquito-borne illness this year.
The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed that the patient tested positive for West Nile before the death earlier this month. Director Nirav Shah said although weather is getting cooler, West Nile is still a concern.
“It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions like using insect repellent, wearing long sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn,” Shah said.
Currently 37 people in Illinois are infected with West Nile. Last year
155 people were infected, and six died. West Nile first showed up in the U.S. in 1999 and came to Illinois in 2001. By the end of 2002, Illinois had seen 884 cases with 67 deaths, the highest rate in the nation, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
West Nile has been found in Carroll and Ogle counties this month.
Mosquitoes carry the virus and transmit it through their bite.
To find out more about West Nile virus and other mosquito-borne diseases, go to the IDPH West Nile virus website or contact the Illinois Department of Public Health West Nile virus information hotline at 866-369-9710 during regular business hours.
– Tribune News Service
Elizabeth Donald: 618-239-2507, @BNDedonald
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