First human case of West Nile virus for 2023 reported

Resident in their 60s became ill in early September, health department says

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.

WAUKEGAN – The Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center has reported the first human case of West Nile virus in Lake County in 2023.

A Lake County resident in their 60s became ill in early September.

“Nobody likes to get sick, especially from something as little as a mosquito bite,” Health Department Executive Director Mark Pfister said in a news release. “By taking steps to protect ourselves from mosquitoes, we can keep potentially severe illness at bay.”

So far in 2023, 144 out of 676 batches of mosquitoes – 21% – have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Follow the “4 Ds of Defense” to protect yourself and your family from mosquitoes:

Drain: Drain standing water from items around your home, yard and business.

Defend: When outdoors, use an EPA-approved insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, 2-undecanone or IR3535 and reapply according to label directions.

Dawn to dusk: Protect yourself all day and night and wear repellent outdoors during these prime times for mosquito activity.

Dress: Wear long sleeves, pants and closed toe shoes when outdoors to cover your skin.

Most people infected with West Nile virus have no symptoms of illness. However, some may become ill usually three to 15 days after the bite of an infected mosquito.

Symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches. In a few individuals, neuroinvasive illness such as meningitis (inflammation of tissue surrounding spinal cord) or encephalitis (inflammation of tissue surrounding the brain), or even death, can occur. People older than 60 and individuals with weakened immune systems and/or multiple medical conditions are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile virus.

Find more prevention tips and information on West Nile virus at

Residents can call the Health Department’s West Nile hotline to report areas of stagnant water, report locations of dead birds and obtain more information on the signs and symptoms of West Nile virus. The West Nile hotline number is 847-377-8300.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

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