West Nile Virus Claims First Life in Suburban Cook County
An elderly person who died of West Nile Virus lived in the county's southern district, county health officials said.
The West Nile Virus has claimed the life of an elderly person in suburban Cook County, officials announced Wednesday.
So far, there has been one death and 58 human cases of the virus in suburban Cook, according to the Cook County Department of Public Health. More than 360 mosquito pools and seven birds also have tested positive.
Cook County health officials said the person who died was between the ages of 70-79 and lived in the county's southern district. Officials no longer disclose the gender of WNV patients and provide only the age range.
Other confirmed cases reported by the county include:
- A patient between the ages of 40–49 in Evergreen Park
- A child between the ages of 0–9 in Oak Lawn
- A Chicago Ridge woman in her 30s
- A man in his 60s in Evergreen Park
- An Oak Lawn man in his 60s
- A man in his 30s in Palos Park,
- And in Oak Forest man in his 40s and a girl in her teens.
An October benefit is being organized for the family of an 8-year-old Oak Lawn girl who contracted WNV while being treated for leukemia. She has been in a coma since Aug. 3.
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton is expected to make a full recovery after contracting WNV.
Most people with the WNV don't show symptoms or become ill. People over the age of 50 who are already ill are more likely to suffer complications. Illness can happen up to two weeks after a bite from a mosquito infected with the virus.
Those who experience high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches or a stiff neck should seek out a doctor immediately.
Cook County health officials provided tips on preventing bites:
- Use insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus when you go outdoors.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
- Empty standing water from items outside your home such as gutters, flowerpots, buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Keep weeds and grass cut short and keep gutters clean and free of debris.
Read more about the spread of WNV: