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Health Department Confirms Second West Nile Death in DuPage County

The number of cases of West Nile virus continue to rise and more cases are expected to be confirmed, according to the DuPage County Health Department.

A second DuPage County resident has died as a result of contracting West Nile virus, the DuPage County Health Department announced Friday.

The health department confirmed that the number of cases of West Nile virus in the county has risen to 15, with two of those cases resulting in deaths related to the virus.

, 76, became the first West Nile fatality in DuPage County. He had been battling cancer since 2008, was hospitalized in early August and died last month.

The 15 people affected by West Nile Virus are in their 20s to 70s, and are located in Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Villa Park and Westmont.

For weeks the health department has been warning residents to take precautions against mosquito bites. It reiterated that West Nile virus is widespread throughout the county, David Haas, the health department’s public information officer, said in a news release. The risk is elevated and may remain so until cool temperatures arrive in the area.

The number of cases is expected to continue to rise because the health department is awaiting confirmation of potential cases that were recently reported, Haas said in the release.

People 50 years and older and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness, according to the health department.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has statistics on the number of cases in the state along with other information on the West Nile virus on its website

After being bitten, people typically have symptoms of the virus within three to 14 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The best way to avoid the risk is to avoid being bitten.

According to the DuPage County Health Department there are no medications to treat, or vaccines to prevent West Nile virus infection.  People with milder illnesses typically recover on their own, although symptoms may last for several weeks.  In more severe cases, patients often need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids, pain medication, and nursing care.  Anyone who has symptoms that cause concern should contact a health care provider.

Here are tips from the CDC:

  • When you are outdoors, use insect repellent containing an EPA-registered active ingredient. Follow the directions on the package.
  • Many mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn. Be sure to use insect repellent and wear long sleeves and pants at these times or consider staying indoors during these hours.
  • Make sure you have good screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out.
  • Get rid of mosquito breeding sites by emptying standing water from flowerpots, buckets and barrels. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in birdbaths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Keep children's wading pools empty and on their sides when they aren't being used.

Read additional stories on West Nile virus:

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