West Nile virus 2021: Cook County man 1st human case of mosquito-borne disease in IL this year

Symptoms of West Nile virus can include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches

ByABC 7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Wednesday, August 4, 2021
West Nile virus Illinois: Cook County man 1st human case this year
A Cook County man in his 80s is the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois this year.

COOK COUNTY, Ill. (WLS) -- Illinois is reporting its first human case of West Nile virus for this year.

The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes.

A man in his 80s in Cook County became ill in mid-June, the Illinois Department of Public Health said in a news release Tuesday.

Last year, there were 42 human cases and four deaths reported in Illinois.

RELATED: Chicago No. 5 for cities with most mosquitoes: How to stay safe

"While we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also remember to take steps to protect our health from other illnesses," IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said. "West Nile virus is something we see every year in Illinois and it is important people take steps to prevent mosquito bites and the viruses they carry by wearing insect repellent and getting rid of standing water around their homes."

Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms, the IDPH said.

In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis, or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found on the IDPH website.