First 2022 Human Case of West Nile Virus Infection in Lake County, Illinois

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Inland Floodwater (Aedes vexans) or Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) on Broccoli
Inland Floodwater (Aedes vexans) or Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) on Broccoli.

Lake County, Ill. — The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center is reporting the first human case of West Nile virus in Lake County for 2022. A Lake County resident in his 60s became ill in early September.

“Take precautions to protect yourself from mosquito bites and West Nile virus,” said Mark Pfister, the Health Department’s Executive Director. “Even as the weather gets cooler, mosquitoes will remain active until the first hard frost.”

CARDINAL NEWS (AUG 30 2022) First Human West Nile Virus Death Reported in Cook County and Illinois for 2022




Most people infected with the virus show little or no symptoms, but some develop symptoms such as high fever and nausea or life-threatening symptoms, such as respiratory arrest. West Nile Virus can also cause brain damage, and damage to the nervous system.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness. However, some may become ill usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In some individuals, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, respiratory arrest, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 years and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus. Meningitis, encephalitis or both together can cause brain damage or damage to the nervous. Patients with severe symptoms require life support in an Intensive Care Unit, including treatment with a ventilator if respiratory arrest occurs.




According to the Lake County Health Department, to date, 73 out of 579 (12%) pools or batches of mosquitoes have tested positive for West Nile virus in 2022.

The Lake County Health Department recommended people follow the “4 Ds of Defense” to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes:

Drain: Drain standing water from items around your home, yard, and business.

Defend: When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, or IR3535 and reapply according to label directions.

Dawn to Dusk: Protect yourself all day and night, and wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.

Dress: Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed toe shoes when outdoors to cover your skin.

The Illinois Department of Health also has a mnemonic “REDUCE, REPEL, REPORT. See below ads for details.ss

Find more prevention tips and information on West Nile virus at www.FightTheBiteNow.com. Residents can also call the Health Department’s West Nile hotline to report areas of stagnant water, report locations of dead birds, and obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus. The West Nile hotline number is (847) 377-8300.

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The first cases of infected humans often begin in late June. Monitoring for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests for mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms. Human testing for West Nile Virus takes about 4-5 days for a confirmation.

People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness. However, some may become ill usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache, and muscle aches. In some individuals, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, respiratory arrest, or even death, can occur. People older than 50 years and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus. Meningitis, encephalitis or both together can cause brain damage or damage to the nervous. Patients with severe symptoms require life support in an Intensive Care Unit, including treatment with a ventilator if respiratory arrest occurs.

Most people infected with the virus show little or no symptoms, but some develop symptoms such as high fever and nausea or life-threatening symptoms, such as respiratory arrest. West Nile Virus can also cause brain damage, and damage to the nervous system.

The moderate illness that is caused by WNV is known as West Nile fever. Common symptoms of West Niles Virus (WNV) infection include fever, nausea, vomiting, headache and muscle aches. Some or all of these symptoms affect about 20 percent of people infected, and may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, about 80 percent of people infected with West Nile virus do not have any symptoms, and is a big part of the reason that WNV is under-reported.

The severe illness that is caused by WNV is known as West Nile neuroinvasive disease (WNND). Severe illnesses related to WNV infection include meningitis (WNM), encephalitis (WNE), West Nile meningoencephalitis (inflammation of both the brain and meninges), and West Nile poliomyelitis (WNP). Least common is WNP, which is characterized by the acute onset of asymmetric limb weakness or paralysis in the absence of sensory loss. Pain sometimes precedes the paralysis, which can occur in the absence of fever, headache, or other common symptoms associated with WNV infection. Involvement of respiratory muscles, leading to acute respiratory failure is possible.

The severe forms often require life support in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). There is no specific cure for the severe illnesses, but life support with oxygen, mechanical respiration support and nutrition are required while patients are in a near coma state. Although rare, severe WNV infections can cause unstable gait, high fever with rapid breathing, low oxygen levels, respiratory arrest, severe tremors, brain damage and death.

 PREVENTION … 

The Illinois Department of Public Health recommend THREE R’s to protecting against mosquito bites that can cause WNV infection.

• REDUCE: Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Inspect screens and repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings. Try to keep doors and windows shut.

Standing water risk reduction includes eliminating or refreshing standing water each week, all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, including water in bird baths, ponds, flowerpots, buckets left outside, wading pools and old tires.

• REPEL: For best protection when outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR 3535. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

• REPORT: Notify officials about locations where water is sitting stagnant for more than a week, such as roadside ditches and flooded yards. The local city or village health department or government may have the ability to add larvicide to the water, which will kill any mosquito eggs and larvae.


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Inland Floodwater (Aedes vexans) or Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) on BroccoliInland Floodwater (Aedes vexans) or Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes albopictus) on Broccoli leaf.

West Nile virus is primarily transmitted by mosquitoes, mostly species of the genus Culex, but mosquitoes and ticks have also been found to carry the virus. Aedes albopictus bite diverse host species enabling the Asian tiger mosquito to be a potential bridge vector for certain pathogens such as West Nile virus.

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