New Cases of West Nile Virus Reported in Southern Cook County
Cook County confirms new human cases of West Nile virus in Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Evergreen Park and Palos Park as of Aug. 23.
The Cook County Department of Public Health has upped the number of human cases of West Nile Virus to 26—including new cases reported in Oak Lawn, Oak Forest, Palos Park and Evergreen Park.
“While we do not want to alarm residents, residents need to understand that the virus is everywhere in suburban Cook County and they need to take basic, easy precautions to prevention against the virus,” said CCDPH interim chief operating officer, Sandra Martell, RN, DNP.
The latest number of reported human cases of West Nile Virus in South Cook County—updated Thursday—include:
- Oak Lawn – 1
- Evergreen Park – 1
- Oak Forest – 2
- Palos Park – 1
- Dolton - 1
- Calumet City – 1
- Phoenix – 1
Cook County’s tracking of human West Nile virus cases does not include Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Stickney Township or Oak Park, which have their own state certified local health departments.
Evergreen Park Mayor James Sexton is the second suburban mayor to be stricken with West Nile virus. He is expected to make a full recovery, according to village officials.
Lombard Village President Bill Mueller, 76, became the first reported West Nile virus fatality in Illinois when he died on August 18. Mueller was also suffering from bone marrow cancer.
FIGHT THE BITE
In addition to human cases, 284 mosquito pools and six birds with West Nile virus have been found throughout suburban Cook County.
The best way to prevent West Nile virus is to avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents with DEET, pircaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus when you go outdoors.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors.
- Empty standing water from items outside your home, such as gutters, flowerpots, buckets, kiddie pools and birdbaths. Water that is allowed to stagnate for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
- Keep weeds and grass cut short and keep gutters clean and free of debris.
SYMPTOMS OF WEST NILE VIRUS
Most people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms of illness. Up to 20 percent of people infected have milder, flu-like symptoms including fever, body aches, headache, nausea and sometimes swollen lymph glands or skin rash on the chest, stomach and back.
About one in 150 will develop severe illness, including high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis. These symptoms may last several weeks, and neurological effects may be permanent.
People over the age of 50 are at a higher risk for serious complications from encephalitis or meningitis and should immediately seek medical treatment if experiencing high fever, confusion, muscle weakness, severe headaches or a still neck. (Source: Center for Disease Control)
Visit the Cook County Department of Public Health website for more information about the West Nile virus outbreak. West Nile virus numbers will updated on the homepage Monday through Friday at noon.