The Village of Skokie Health Department confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus today.
Officials would not release the name, but said the 76-year-old Skokie woman is hospitalized from possibly being bitten by a mosquito in the village.
This is the third confirmed case of West Nile Virus in the state this year, officials said. On June 30, the Village of Skokie confirmed that the virus was in fact present after a mosquito pool tested positive.
"Unfortunately, people sometimes don't know [the virus is] there unless we remind them," Dr. Catherine Counard, health department director for the Village of Skokie, told the Chicago Tribune.
The continued hot summer weather creates an ideal environment for mosquito breeding. Symptoms of WNV infection may begin between three and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Most infected people have mild symptoms, such as a fever, headache and rash that lasts a few days. In rare cases, WNV can cause severe disease with symptoms such as muscle weakness, stiff neck, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis and coma. Older adults and people with compromised immune systems are at an increased risk of complications from the virus.
The following tips were released by the village via press release earlier today:
- Avoid mosquito-infested areas, especially at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Mosquitoes can breed in standing water. Eliminate this risk by dumping or draining water in neglected ponds, birdbaths, fountains, buckets or anything that can hold water. Dumping or draining water will interrupt the mosquito life cycle.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
- Apply mosquito repellant to exposed skin. The most effective repellents contain 35% DEET; follow application instructions carefully.
- Keep tight-fitting screens on doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering homes and check to make sure your window screens are in good condition.
- Maintain all swimming pools in a clean and sanitary manner, with all circulation and filtration equipment operational and chemical levels within recommended guidelines; drain water from pool covers.
- Keep grass and shrubbery cut short. Adult mosquitoes accumulate in shady cool areas.
- Keep gutters clean and free flowing. Eliminate dips and low areas that collect water.