Illinois reports first human death of West Nile virus for the year

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed the first human West Nile virus-related death in Illinois for 2017.

A Kankakee County resident who tested positive for the virus died earlier this month.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reported the first human case of West Nile for the year on July 20. There are 37 human cases of West Nile so far this year.

In 2016, the IDPH reported 155 human cases and six deaths connected to West Nile.

The virus is spread through the bite of a mosquito that had been feeding on an infected bird.

According to the CDC, 80 percent of the people who become infected don’t have symptoms, but some develop flu-like symptoms, which can last for weeks or even months. Such symptoms include, but are not limited to: fever, headache, body ache, fatigue, nausea, and rash.

The most serious cases of West Nile can be deadly.

The elderly are more at risk of getting sick, because their immunity system is often weaker.

To help stop the spread of West Nile, health officials want people to wear insect repellent with DEET and remove standing water sources that breed mosquitoes like bird baths, gutters, and the bottoms of flower pots.