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Four new cases of West Nile reported

A 50-year-old St. Charles man and a 59-year-old Geneva man are among four new cases of West Nile virus reported in Kane County, the Kane County Health Department announced Wednesday.

The other two cases involve a 67-year-old man and a 61-year-old man from Elgin. The four cases bring the total of Kane County cases this season to nine, tying the number of cases reported in 2002.

“They were all hospitalized, but they have been released,” said Tom Schlueter, Kane County Health Department spokesman.

Kane County experienced the most West Nile cases in 2005 – 17. Other cases this year include a 71-year-old man from Aurora, a 61-year-old Geneva woman, a 70-year-old Aurora man, a 16-year-old Batavia girl and a 64-year-old Elgin man, who died in August.

West Nile is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. Most people with the virus have no clinical symptoms of illness, but some might become ill up to 14 days after the bite of an infected mosquito, Schlueter said, adding only 20 percent of those who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience illness.

Schlueter said the hot and dry conditions earlier this summer provide “perfect conditions” for West Nile.

“There’s probably going to be more,” he said.

Residents can take precautions to prevent West Nile, Schlueter said.

“Stay inside from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are active,” he said.

The health department also made several other recommendations, including:

• When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that includes DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

• Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.

• Change water in birdbaths weekly. Properly maintain wading pools and stock ornamental ponds with fish. Cover rain barrels with 16-mesh wire screen. In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government to report areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

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