The Centers for Disease Control has reported more than 11,000 cases of West Nile Virus throughout the country.
“We’ve acknowledged that we’re dealing with a serious situation,” said Candice Hoffmann, Communications Specialist for the Centers for Disease Control. “This year we’re seeing the highest number of cases in people through the third week of August since West Nile Virus was first detected in the U.S. in 1999.”
The first fatal case of West Nile in Illinois this year happened in DuPage County. Lombard’s longest running president William Mueller contracted the virus while battling cancer and was hospitalized. He passed away at the age of 76.
So far there have been at least four other reported human cases of West Nile in DuPage this year but no other fatalities.
“The hot and dry weather have contributed to the popularity or the proliferation of the Culex mosquito, said Dave Hass, Public Information Officer with the DuPage County Health Department. “The Culex is the one that carries the West Nile Virus.”
About one in five people infected with West Nile actually experience symptoms, like nausea, diarrhea, rash, vomiting, or joint pain. But the DuPage County Health Department advises everyone to take precautions.
“Use the repellent. Cover your arms and legs when you’re out between dusk and dawn,” said Hass. “Drain standing water, even from a birdbath.”
“The people who are at greatest risk include people over 50 year of age and people who have certain medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease or organ transplants,” said Hoffmann.
Here in Naperville, a number of places have tested positive for the virus over the last several weeks. As of August 24th, the virus was detected at Arrowhead, Sportsman’s, Knoch Knolls, and Marshall Court parks.
“When we have a positive test in the area, we will go out and we treat any standing water areas that we know,” said Christine Schwartzhoff, Operations Team Leader for the Department of Public Works. “We’ll retreat the catch basins, they’ll do some spraying. Sometimes it’s just standing water in ditches.
City crews will continue spraying and retesting the area each week until early fall.
For more information on west Nile Virus, visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website, www.cdc.gov.
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