The Lake County Health Department announced Friday that they have identified the first human case of West Nile virus in Lake County in 2023.
Lake County Health Department spokeswoman Emily Young said the case was found in a Lake County resident, who is in their 60s.
The resident became ill in early September, Young said.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported on August 23 that the first human death from West Nile virus in Illinois for the year was a suburban Cook County resident in their 90s who became ill in early August.
West Nile virus was a contributing factor in the Cook County resident’s death and laboratory testing at the CDC confirmed the diagnosis.
“Nobody likes to get sick, especially from something as little as a mosquito bite,” Lake County Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister said.
“By taking steps to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, we can keep potentially severe illness at bay,” Pfister said.
144 pools or batches of mosquitoes out of 676 have tested positive for West Nile virus this year in Lake County.
The health department recommends residents follow the “4 Ds of Defense” to protect themselves from mosquitoes.
“Drain” standing water from items around your home, yard, and business.
“Defend” by using an insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone, or IR3535 and reapply according to label directions.
“Dawn to Dusk” protect yourself all day and night and wear repellent outdoors during prime times for mosquito activity.
“Dress” in long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes when outdoors to cover your skin.
Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness. However, some may become ill usually 3-15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.
Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In some individuals, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.
People older than 60 years and individuals with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus, health officials said.
Residents can call the Lake County Health Department’s West Nile hotline to report areas of stagnant water, locations of dead birds and to obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus.
The West Nile hotline number is 847-377-8300.