2nd Illinois case of West Nile

By MARCELLA S. KREITER  |  Aug. 8, 2002 at 6:14 PM
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CHICAGO, Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Illinois health officials Thursday announced a second case of West Nile virus in Illinois, this one in the St. Louis area.

A 57-year-old man came down with the mosquito-borne disease last month and developed encephalitis. He was hospitalized in intensive care for two weeks but is now showing signs of improvement.

The announcement followed word earlier this week a 22-year-old student from Maryland tested positive for the illness late last month and recovered without hospitalization. She came down with a mild fever July 26 and complained of aching muscles and a slight rash.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta has confirmed 112 cases of West Nile across the United States so far this year. There have been 71 cases in Louisiana, five fatal, 28 in Mississippi, 12 in Texas and one in Illinois. Thursday's announcement by Illinois Public Health Director Dr. John Lumpkin brings the total to 113.

In addition, 1,076 dead crows and 827 other dead birds with the infection were reported from 34 states, New York City and the District of Columbia while 87 infections were reported in horses in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Texas. Additionally, Ohio reported its first equine case Thursday.

For the year, West Nile has been reported in 52 chicken flocks from Florida, Nebraska and Pennsylvania, and in 425 mosquito pools in Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, as well as New York City and the District of Columbia.

Lumpkin noted at a news conference the odds of contracting West Nile are minimal, about one in 40,000, and the odds of the disease being severe are even higher.

"We don't need to be frightened by this but we need to take precautions," Lumpkin said.

Authorities have advised residents to avoid the most active hours for mosquitoes, around dawn and dusk. They should use insect repellent containing 25 percent to 35 percent DEET -- 10 percent or less for children -- when outside, wear clothes that cover exposed skin and eliminate sources of stagnant water around their property -- like birdbaths, flower pots, wading pools, ponds and old tires -- where mosquitoes can breed.

The virus is spread when a Culex, or house, mosquito bites an infected animal and then sucks blood from a human.

The virus has been detected in 34 states and three Canadian provinces.

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