West Nile virus suspected in Chicago firefighter's death

The West Nile virus may have been the cause of the death of a Chicago Fire Department lieutenant this week who was bitten by a mosquito while vacationing in Wisconsin.

Lt. Thomas Flahive died on Thursday evening at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. His family suspects that West Nile virus was the cause of his death, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Flahive began experiencing flu-like symptoms approximately 10 days ago at the firehouse.

"He was at the firehouse feeling symptoms and he decided to go home and check into the hospital," Langford said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Langford said that Flahive's family plans to donate portions of his body to science to learn more about the disease and its effect, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"We haven't comprehended it yet, it hasn't sunk in," Mark Nielsen, the assistant deputy fire commissioner, said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "You might suspect an elderly person that might not be able to handle such a virus, but Tom is a big, strong man. There's an autopsy being performed tonight. His brain is being donated to science. His family, they really want to get to the bottom of what happened.''

Flahive is survived by his wife and three adult children. He was 58 years old.