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updated: 8/14/2012 4:05 PM

Health dept. reports first human case of WNV in DuPage in 2012

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David Hass

DUPAGE COUNTY--The DuPage County Health Department reports the first human case of West Nile Virus (WNV) in DuPage County in 2012 is a female in her 50s from Downers Grove.

The Health Department reminds County residents that WNV activity is widespread in DuPage County so the risk of WNV is strong and may remain so for some time this season, therefore County residents should concentrate on personal protection. Residents are urged to be cautious, but not curtail their outdoor activities.

WNV is transmitted to people by infected mosquitoes. The best way to prevent West Nile virus disease 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.

Approximately one in five people who are infected with West Nile virus will develop symptoms such as 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 (inflammation of the brain or surrounding tissues).

People over 50 years of age and those with certain medical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, and organ transplants, are at greater risk for serious illness.

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.

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