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First West Nile case in Illinois for 2009

August 31, 2009 at 01:42 PM

BELLEVILLE (AP) — Health officials say a 50-something person in southwestern Illinois is the state’s first human case of West Nile virus for 2009.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says the St. Clair County Health Department reported the case recently. Last year, there were 20 human cases of the mosquito-borne virus statewide, with one death.

Public Health Director Damon Arnold says cooler temperatures this summer have blunted the frequency of the virus, but he says Illinois’ first human case should remind residents that the threat remains.

So far this year, two dozen Illinois counties have reported mosquito batches or birds testing positive for the virus.

Only about 20 percent of people bitten by an infected mosquito will get sick. The illness is usually mild but can be serious or fatal.

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