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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.

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.

(Source: Cook County Department of Public Health)

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. 

CEC August 24, 2012 at 01:02 AM
I don't know if this is one of the reported cases or not, but there is a little girl in Oak Lawn that is battling Leukemia, and in early August she contracted West Nile Virus. She is currently in very critical condition. Please pray for the family. Here is a link to her story, along with info on an upcoming benefit for her: http://www.smilesforsarah.com
Mike Fangman August 24, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I heard about Sexton on WBBM radio a few days ago.
Lorraine Swanson August 24, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Thank-you, CEC. I heard that a a child was battling WNV in Oak Lawn. Thanks for the link.
Lorraine Swanson August 24, 2012 at 05:13 AM
I will do my best, Kathy. I'm sorry to hear about your mother-in-law.
Ozzy August 24, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I must be one of the lucky ones in terms of them skeeters as despite having a large garden on the property I have only been attacked by two total. One way back in Spring and the other a few weeks back. Got them both before they got me.

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