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Tenth case of West Nile reported in county

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012 5:58 p.m. CDT

The Kane County Health Department is reporting 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 be reporting 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 more 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, of Elgin; a 50-year-old man from St. Charles; a 59-year-old man and 61-year-old woman both from Geneva; a 16-year-old girl from Batavia; and a 70-year-old man and 71-year-old man, both of 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 of an infected mosquito.

Two people out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness and those age 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 repellant, make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens, change birdbath water weekly and cover rain barrels with 16-inch mesh screen.

Information is available online at www.kanehealth.com/west_nile.htm or the Illinois Department of Public Health www.idph.state.il.us/envhealth/wnv.htm.

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