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Misc. News : Non-f.ood Things Last Updated: Nov 12th, 2006 - 20:38:00

West Nile Cases Continue to Rise
By Kathy Jones
Sep 26, 2006, 13:47

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26 Sep, ( - West Nile virus infections continued to rise across the country despite cooler temperatures. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) confirmed the eighth death from the virus this year after receiving a positive report on a Cook County woman in her 80's. The woman was previously reported as having neuroinvasive disease.

DuPage County registered three West Nile deaths this year followed by a death each in Bond County, Chicago, Sangamon County and Will County. All the people who died were well over 60 when West Nile virus infection is more likely to prove lethal. The IDPH said in a release that 161 cases of West Nile virus were reported thus far this year.

A Gig Harbor, Pierce County, woman became the second West Nile case in Washington. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the woman was the wife of a Gig Harbor man who was the state's first West Nile case. The woman as well as her husband are in their 40s and had a mild case of fever and rash in July. Both have since recovered.
The CDC has confirmed that nationally, 40 states and the District of Columbia have 2,171 confirmed cases of West Nile virus infections and 74 fatalities in 2006.

Meanwhile over in Connecticut a Fairchild resident became the ninth case of West Nile to be reported this year. Health officials said that the 75-year-old person became infected in the first week of September and developed encephalitis after which hospitalization was required.

"Even though the weather is considerably cooler from a month ago, identification of another Connecticut resident with West Nile virus serves as a sobering reminder that the mosquito season will not be over until the state experiences a hard frost," Department of Public Health Commissioner J. Robert Galvin said Monday.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito, which in turn has picked the virus from an infected bird. West Nile virus was first identified in 1999 in the United States. The virus has spread very quickly across the country since then.

Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Although the symptoms most often are mild, in the very young and the elderly, they produce fatal complications.

After a mosquito bite it takes at least three to 14 days for the symptoms to appear. Mild symptoms such as fever, headache, and body aches, nausea, vomiting, and sometimes swollen lymph glands or a skin rash on the chest, stomach and back are usually seen in majority of the infected people.

About one in 150 people infected with WNV will develop severe illness, according to the CDC. Symptoms in this stage include high fever, headache, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, vision loss, numbness and paralysis.

The best way to prevent West Nile virus infection is to avoid getting mosquito bites. Repellents like DEET, picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus are also successful in preventing infections. However it is important to consult a physician before using any repellent.

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