Tags: West | Nile | Virus | Spreads | Chicago

West Nile Virus Spreads to Chicago

Wednesday, 05 September 2001 12:00 AM

So far this year, West Nile has been identified in 20 states, the District of Columbia and southern Ontario.

Illinois Public Health Director Dr. John Lumpkin said no reports of human cases of the mosquito-borne disease have yet turned up in Illinois.

Lumpkin said most people suffer no symptoms once they're infected, but some become ill within 15 days of a mosquito bite. Symptoms can range from fever and headache to muscle weakness, brain inflammation, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, paralysis or death. The elderly are most susceptible to the more serious symptoms.

"However, people - particularly those living in the areas where the virus has been identified - should take precautions to protect against mosquito bites," Lumpkin said. He recommended staying indoors during the day, covering as much of the body as possible, using mosquito repellant, checking screens on doors and windows and eliminating stagnant water.

The infected crows were found in Arlington Heights, northwest of the city, on Aug. 23, and in Lombard, to the west, Aug. 27. The state has been on the lookout for West Nile cases for the last year, although they had not anticipated the virus would arrive for another year. Department of Natural Resources officials have been monitoring crows, blue jays and hawks.

West Nile was first detected in the United States in 1999 in New York. Within the past two weeks, it has been confirmed in Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and Wisconsin. Nationally, 10 people have come down with the disease this year, including an Atlanta woman who died.

"As West Nile virus continues its march across the Midwest, the finding that the virus is active in Illinois is not surprising," said Scott Wright, a wildlife disease pathologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis.

"Because birds are the primary carriers of the virus, there is nothing to really stop its spread to other states."

The disease has been found in about 80 bird species and nine mammalian species. This year it has turned up in horses in Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania and in hundreds of birds in the eastern United States.

As of Tuesday, the USGS said West Nile has been detected in Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia and Wisconsin, as well as Washington, D.C., and Ontario, Canada.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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So far this year, West Nile has been identified in 20 states, the District of Columbia and southern Ontario. Illinois Public Health Director Dr. John Lumpkin said no reports of human cases of the mosquito-borne disease have yet turned up in Illinois. Lumpkin said most...
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2001-00-05
Wednesday, 05 September 2001 12:00 AM
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