Illinois records its first West Nile virus death in 2018

(John Tann/Flickr)

OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) - A senior citizen living in LaSalle County is the first person to die in Illinois this year of West Nile virus.

The person, who wasn't identified Wednesday by the Illinois Department of Public Health, became sick earlier in the month and tested positive for West Nile virus. The mosquito-transmitted virus causes symptoms including fever, headaches, and muscle aches.

Health officials report that there are 22 human cases of the virus across the state. In 2017, 90 human cases of West Nile virus were recorded in Illinois. Eight people died.

Birds and horses can also contract the virus.

In a statement, Dr. Nirav D. Shah said although the end of summer is approaching, West Nile virus remains a risk until the first hard frost.