Although the threat of West Nile virus cases has passed, the number of cases reported in Kane County grew to 12 on Wednesday when the Kane County Health Department released information that an Aurora man had been infected by the virus.
Health department spokesman Tom Schlueter said the department confirms cases before reporting them. He said it is possible that the number could go up before the end of the year.
The Aurora man, 64, was hospitalized, but he since has been discharged. The 12 cases reported in the county is the most in one year since 2007, when 13 were reported. In 2005, 17 cases were reported.
Earlier this year, Schlueter predicted a high number of cases would be reported in the county because of warm, dry weather.
The virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird. The disease is easily spread when there are warm conditions and pools of undisturbed, standing water. Without rain, any areas of standing water can go undisturbed for longer periods of time.
“We started seeing it early on,” Schlueter said. “It was the perfect storm for West Nile.”
There was one death reported from West Nile virus in Kane County this year. A 64-year-old Elgin man died in August. Among other cases this year were a 16-year-old girl from Batavia, a 50-year-old man from St. Charles, and a 59-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman from Geneva.
The Illinois Public Health Department reported 245 cases this year, including 10 deaths. Last year, there were 34 cases and three deaths in the state. In Kane County last year, there was one case reported.
“Obviously, this was a bad year,” Schlueter said. “But it certainly has been worse.”