West Nile virus fatality reported in Cicero first in Cook County this year

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013 1:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 8:05 a.m. CDT

CICERO - A 67-year-old man from Cicero is the first fatality in Cook County this year from the West Nile virus.

Cook County health officials said the victim was also suffering from other medical complications.

“We are very saddened and express our condolences to the family,” Town President Larry Dominick stated in a news release. “I am urging everyone to take necessary precautions to protect themselves and to also monitor elderly relatives and residents, especially those who live by themselves for symptoms.”

The death is the second reported confirmation of West Nile virus in Cook County this year, officials said. The first infection involved a resident in suburban Oak Lawn.

Anyone can be infected by West Nile virus, according to county health officials, so it is important for people to protect themselves from mosquito bites.

People over the age of 50, and those with chronic diseases such as heart disease or cancer may be at more risk.

County health officials said that frequently, most people with West Nile virus show no symptoms. Some become ill between 13 and 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Symptoms include fever, headaches and body aches. More severe symptoms may include high fever, stiff neck, confusion and muscle weakness.

Health officials recommended that residents wear lightly colored, loose-fitting clothing and use mosquito repellent when outdoors.

Remove any standing water near your home as standing water can breed mosquito larva.

Dominick said Town employees were canvassing the area to identify and eliminate any areas of standing water.

Water that is allowed to remain for three or four days becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes, such as stagnant swimming pools, bird baths, and water in objects such as discarded tires, or pooling near homes.

More information is available at Cook County at www.CookCountyPublicHealth.org.

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