Illinois reports first 2014 human West Nile virus case

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced on Monday that it confirmed the first human case of West Nile virus in the state this year.

The Chicago Department of Health said that the patient, a woman in her 70s, became ill in July.

The IDPH is reminding Illinois residents to take steps to prevent the disease.

"This first human case is a good reminder that we all need to take precautions," Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck said. "The mosquitoes that typically carry West Nile virus, commonly called the house mosquito, are not as noticeable as the swarms of floodwater mosquitoes we see with the heavy rains. Even if it does not look like there are a lot of mosquitoes outdoors, house mosquitoes are stealthy biters so make sure to use insect repellent when you're outside."

Other precautions to reduce the threat of West Nile include making sure windows and doors have tight-fitting screens and repairing screens that have tears. The IDPH also said that eliminating standing sources of water around the home is critical to reducing mosquito breeding.

The IDPH has reported West Nile cases in birds, mosquitoes and humans in 32 counties across the state so far this year. The disease was reported in 49 counties at the same time last year.