DuPage woman contracts West Nile virus; first Illinois case this year

This year’s first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois has been confirmed in DuPage County, health officials announced Wednesday.

A woman in her 40s became ill from the virus in mid-August, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Last year, 28 people in Illinois tested positive for West Nile virus, which is transmitted by infected mosquitos, including one death.

IDPH Director Ngozi Ezike reminded the public that spending time outdoors while social distancing also increases the risk of mosquito exposure. Residents can lower exposure by wearing insect repellent and removing standing water around home, she said.

“While we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we must also remember to take steps to protect our health from other illnesses,” Ezike said in a statement.

Common symptoms of West Nile virus include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. Symptoms can 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, health officials 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.