82-year-old contracts West Nile

Dean Olsen

A Montgomery County woman in her 80s has been diagnosed with the state’s second reported case of illness caused by the West Nile virus this year, Illinois Department of Public Health officials said Tuesday.

The unidentified 82-year-old woman, who lives in a rural area near Hillsboro, got sick in late July, officials said.

She was hospitalized at the time but since then has been discharged, said Cyndy Howard, director of environmental health for the Montgomery County Health Department.

“I believe she is recovering at home,” Howard said.

“She hadn’t been traveling, so we believe she contracted West Nile in this area.”

The state’s first human case of West Nile this year, involving a Kane County woman in her 20s, was reported Aug. 11.

There have been no deaths in Illinois this year from West Nile, a mosquito-borne illness that infected at least 101 Illinoisans last year and killed four. The deaths involved two Cook County residents and one each from the counties of Gallatin and Ogle.

The last time Montgomery County had human cases of West Nile infection was 2002, when four cases were diagnosed, Howard said.

Dr. Damon Arnold, director of the state health department, said in a news release: “This is the time of the year when the number of human cases of West Nile virus in Illinois increases rapidly. You can easily avoid getting sick by wearing insect repellent and trying to reduce any standing water around your homes.”

The state agency says that only two people out of every 10 who are bitten by an infected mosquito will get sick.

Dean Olsen can be reached at (217) 788-1543 ordean.olsen@sj-r.com.