Early human West Nile infection

Local News

ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports the first confirmed human case of West Nile virus for 2018.

A Chicago resident in her 60’s became ill in mid-May. The case was only confirmed Tuesday after additional testing took place to ensure the results.

It was questioned because it happened much earlier in the season than human cases typically develop. Last year, the first human case was reported July 20.

Also last year, 63 counties confirmed a positive West Nile virus mosquito batch, bird and/or human case. IDPH reported 90 human cases in 2017, including eight deaths, although authorities say human cases are underreported.

The disease is transmitted by mosquitos which feed on infected birds. Symptoms include fever, nausea, head and muscle aches. Four out of five people infected won’t even show symptoms.

In rare cases, severe illness can develop and even cause death. Those 60 and older or with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from the virus.

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