| Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 15, 2012 1:52PM
WAUKEGAN — The first human case of West Nile virus since 2010 has been diagnosed in Lake County, officials said Wednesday.
A spokeswoman with the Lake County Health Department/Community Health Center said a 68-year-old male resident of the Lake County side of Buffalo Grove tested positive for West Nile encephalitis. He was hospitalized and discharged.
In addition to the first human case, 52 pools (batches) of mosquitoes and three birds have tested positive for West Nile virus in Lake County this year.
Officials said the county is currently tracking ahead of its count for 2005, which had the highest number of positive mosquito pools and birds. That year, 167 mosquito pools, 12 birds, and 11 people tested positive for the illness and one death occurred.
The Health Department is continuing to urge people to take precautions against mosquito bites. Health officials statewide expect higher numbers of the virus because of the drought.
“Protection against mosquito bites is very important right now,” said Irene Pierce, the Health Department’s executive director. “The risk for transmission of the virus is the highest it has been in years. You can protect yourself and your family by following the three R’s — reduce your exposure to mosquitoes, repel them by wearing insect repellent, and report areas where mosquitoes typically breed.”
While most people infected with the virus have no symptoms of illness, some may become ill, usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The virus may occasionally cause serious complications.
In some individuals, particularly the elderly, the virus can cause muscle weakness, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, convulsions, paralysis, coma or death.