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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The number of human cases of West Nile disease in Illinois this year has risen to 14 with the announcement today by the Illinois Department of Public Health of the first four reported cases of the mosquito-borne disease from the Chicago metropolitan area.
Dr. Eric E. Whitaker, state public health director, said the most recent laboratory-confirmed cases are:
-- A 78-year-old Chicago woman with West Nile encephalitis, who became ill in mid-August, was hospitalized and has since been discharged.
-- A 56-year-old suburban Cook County man, who became ill in early August with West Nile encephalitis and is currently hospitalized.
-- A 54-year-old DuPage County man, who became ill in mid-August with West Nile encephalitis, was hospitalized and has since been discharged.
-- A 48-year-old Will County man, who became ill in early August with West Nile fever and did not require hospitalization.
The states other human cases of West Nile have been from Boone, Clinton, Ford, Jackson, Jo Daviess, Kendall, Rock Island, Sangamon and St. Clair counties.
A total of 175 birds, 617 mosquito pools, two horses and one alpaca have been identified this year with West Nile virus.
Only about two persons out of 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will experience any illness. Illness from West Nile is usually mild and includes fever, headache and body aches, but serious illness, such as encephalitis and meningitis, and death are possible. Persons over 50 years of age have the highest risk of severe disease .
In 2003, Illinois recorded 54 West Nile disease human cases, including one death, and in 2002, the state led the nation with 884 cases and 66 deaths.
Source: Illinois Department of Public Health