First human case, death of West Nile virus in 2022 confirmed in Cook County


CHICAGO — Illinois health officials confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois in 2022 as a Cook County resident in his 70s who tested positive for the virus after becoming ill at the beginning of August and subsequently died.

State officials said that the virus was a contributing factor to the resident’s death.

“This unfortunate first reported death of the year from West Nile virus in Illinois is a reminder that this disease poses a risk, especially to those who have weakened immune systems,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “While the weather is warm and mosquitos are breeding, we should all take precautions to protect ourselves from mosquitoes and the viruses they carry by wearing insect repellent and eliminating standing water around our homes where mosquitos breed.”

Last year, IDPH reported 65 human cases, although some cases go unreported, officials said. Five people died as a result of the virus.

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The state’s public health department reminded the public to practice the three “R’s” — reduce, repel, and report protecting against mosquitoes.

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