The Kane County Health Department reported a 10th case of West Nile virus, an 85-year-old Elgin man who was hospitalized and has since been discharged.
County health officials will report new cases once a week on Wednesdays until the end of the West Nile season, which ends with the first hard frost, spokesman Tom Schlueter said.
This summer was hot and dry, the perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus. Schlueter said health officials expect to see cases until the West Nile mosquito season is over.
“Obviously, mosquitoes do not like cold weather,” Schlueter said. “Until we have a hard frost, it is still West Nile season and we will continue to see more activity. Some cases may be trickling in before we call it end of the season. In the past, we had gotten some cases at end of October and early November.”
Other Kane County cases this year were a 61-year-old man and a 67-year-old man from Elgin; a 50-year-old man from St. Charles; a 59-year-old man and 61-year-old woman from Geneva; a 16-year-old girl from Batavia; and a 70-year-old man and 71-year-old man from Aurora. One of the cases, the 64-year-old man from Elgin, died in August.
West Nile virus 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 may become ill three to 14 days after the bite.
Those ages 50 and older have the highest risk of severe disease. Schlueter said it usually takes two weeks before someone is ill enough to go to the doctor and begin the testing process.
“It takes two tests and a couple weeks before we get a confirmation from the state lab,” Schlueter said. “We are encouraging people to wear long sleeves from dusk to dawn when they’re outside.”
Other precautions include applying insect repellent, making sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens, changing birdbath water weekly and covering rain barrels with 16-inch mesh screen.