Elgin man’s death is Kane’s first case of West Nile
By Janelle Walker For The Courier-News August 23, 2012 12:10PM
The first mosquitoes collected in Kane County this summer have tested positive for West Nile Virus. | Sun-Times Media File
Kane County West Nile
2010: 5 (1 death)
2008: 3 (1 death)
2002: 9 (1 death)
Updated: September 25, 2012 10:45AM
ELGIN — In what the Centers for Disease Control is calling the worst summer for West Nile Virus outbreaks since the disease was first identified in the U.S., Kane County has seen its first case — and first death — from the illness this year.
The Kane County Health Department announced Thursday that officials have confirmed a 64-year-old Elgin man died last week after contracting the disease.
Officials did not release the man’s name or where he was treated. Chris Hoff, a spokesman with the health department, said the man had been sick for about a week before his death.
Hoff said the health department is focusing on education about the disease and how to prevent infection in the wake of the county’s first case in 2012.
“We need help tackling this issue. If people have standing water in their yards, dump bird baths, pools — take responsibility in their own yards, too, to keep the spread down,” Hoff said.
Just because this summer has seen scant rain up until the past few weeks does not mean the Culex mosquito is not breeding.
The hot and dry summer has been the “perfect combination for the Culex mosquito, the species that is known to carry the virus,” the health department said in a press release.
“It is likely we will see more activity before the season is over,” the release said.
Tests this summer have indicated the illness has been present in mosquitoes and birds here.
According to the health department’s website, 218 county mosquito traps have collected 7,844 female Culex mosquitoes, which transmit the disease. Of those test sites so far this year, 41 have tested positive; 10 community areas had positive mosquito pools — Aurora, Batavia, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, Elburn, Elgin, Gilberts and Montgomery.
The disease is carried by birds. West Nile virus is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
Three dead birds have tested positive for West Nile Virus in Kane County in 2012. The birds were found in Dundee Township, South Elgin and West Dundee.
According to the CDC, 47 states have reported West Nile virus infections in people, birds, or mosquitoes this year. A total of 1,118 human West Nile cases have been reported to CDC, including 41 deaths.
“The 1,118 cases reported thus far in 2012 is the highest number of West Nile virus disease cases reported to CDC … since West Nile virus was first detected in the United States in 1999,” according to the agency’s website.
Most of those cases — about 75 percent — have been reported from just five states, including Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota and Oklahoma. Half of those cases have been in Texas, according to the CDC.
The Elgin man is the second fatality from West Nile reported in Illinois this year. Lombard Village President William Mueller, 76, who died Saturday, was the first victim in 2012, according to reports.
The Elgin man is the fourth death in Kane County since 2002 attributed to West Nile Virus. One person died each year in 2010, 2008 and 2002.