A woman from Downers Grove is the first reported human case of West Nile Virus to be diagnosed in DuPage County this year, the DuPage County Health Department reported Tuesday.
The health department has of the high risk for infection from the virus after the warm, dry temperatures created a perfect breeding environment for the Culex mosquito, the main transmitter of the virus to humans.
The woman diagnosed with the virus is in her 50s, according to the health department. People older than 50 and those with medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and organ transplants, have a greater risk for serious illness from the virus.
About one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms. Symptoms include fever, headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash. Less than 1 percent will develop a serious neurologic illness such as encephalitis or meningitis, the DuPage County Health Department said.
have tested positive for West Nile Virus. Those discoveries were made on June 20, July 20 and July 30.
Mosquitos with West Nile Virus have also been found in Crete, Frankfort, Homer Glen, Joliet, Lockport and Naperville this summer.
West Nile virus is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. The best way to prevent the virus is to avoid mosquito bites:
- Use insect repellents when you go outdoors.
- Wear long sleeves and pants during dawn and dusk.
- Install or repair screens on windows and doors. Use air conditioning, if you have it.
- Empty standing water from items outside your home such as flowerpots, buckets and kiddie pools.
Aside from taking precautions to prevent mosquito bites, there are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent, West Nile Virus infection, the DuPage Health Department said.
People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks, the department said. Severe cases may require hospitalization so patients receive supportive treatments, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication and medical care. Anyone with symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.
Bolingbrook residents who are interested in monitoring West Nile virus in the area may find an interactive map displaying the various incidents of positive and negative findings. The map of mosquito traps found throughout the county will be updated as mosquitoes test positive for West Nile virus, the health department said.
Written by Mary Ann Lopez