Illinois reports first West Nile virus-related death in Cook County

The Illinois Department of Health reported on Monday the first death of a person with West Nile virus in Cook County for 2013.

A middle-aged man from suburban Cook County became infected with West Nile virus in late August and later died from the infection. The death was the second West Nile virus-related fatality in Illinois for 2013, following the death of a Logan County resident last week.

"The first West Nile virus related deaths this year occurred later than we typically see," LaMar Hasbrouck, the director of the IDPH, said. "Even with the cooler temperatures, until the first hard freeze, you still need to protect yourself against mosquito bites and possible West Nile virus infection."

To date, the IDPH reported positive bird, mosquito and human cases of West Nile virus in 59 counties. The first human case was reported on August 21 in McHenry County.

The 2012 season brought the second highest number of West Nile virus human cases in state history with 290 residents and 12 deaths. This year, 10 human cases of West Nile virus were reported.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that fed on an infected bird. The most effective way to prevent West Nile virus or any other mosquito-borne illness is to reduce how many mosquitoes are around the home and to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.