Will County resident first to die from West Nile in Illinois this year

  • The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 40 human cases of West Nile virus this year.

    The Illinois Department of Public Health has reported 40 human cases of West Nile virus this year. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Daily Herald report
Updated 10/8/2021 3:58 PM

A Will County resident who contracted West Nile virus has died -- the first death related to the mosquito-borne illness in Illinois this year, state health officials said Friday.

The person first became ill in late August, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.


"Although we are already into fall, we are expecting a warm weekend and West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost," said IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "It's important for everyone to continue taking precautions such as using insect repellent, wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, and staying indoors between dusk and dawn."

The state health department has so far reported 40 human cases of the virus this year, two fewer than the total in 2020, although officials warn human cases are underreported.

Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In rare cases, people can develop a severe illness, including meningitis or encephalitis. People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness.

Health officials say precautions include the three "R's": Reduce sources of standing water; Repel mosquitoes by wearing long pants, long-sleeved shirts and insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus when outdoors; and Report locations where you see water sitting stagnant for more than a week.

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