West Nile total climbs to 10 cases in DuPage

DuPage County now has seen 10 confirmed cases of West Nile virus this summer and one West Nile-related death, the county health officials said Friday.

People affected by the virus range in age from their 20s to 70s and live in Carol Stream, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville and Villa Park.

Lombard Village President Bill Mueller, 76, died Aug. 18 from complications of West Nile. He is one of two people statewide to die of West Nile this year, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. The other death occurred in the only confirmed West Nile case in Kane County.

The state has seen 56 West Nile cases so far this summer in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Kankakee counties and downstate Crawford county.

While the virus is widespread among mosquitoes in DuPage County, according to the health department, only about one in five people infected will show any symptoms. Fever, headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rashes can occur in those patients, but the health department says fewer than 1 percent of those infected will develop more serious illnesses such as meningitis.

People older than 50 and those with cancer, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease and transplanted organs are at a greater risk for serious illness.

There is no vaccine against West Nile and no medications to treat infections, so the health department encourages residents to use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants from dusk to dawn, fix holes in window screens and empty areas of standing water.

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